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Aggressive Hospital Debt Collection Practices
The high cost of health care is well known. And while politicians argue, working families face staggering medical bills that, if left unpaid, subject them to increasingly aggressive debt collections from hospitals and collection agencies.
If you are struggling with medical debt, you need to understand your legal rights and options. The Ohio debt collections attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates, LLP can help resolve your debts and protect you from unfair collections actions.
Our consumer law attorneys are available for free consultations about debt collection actions. Call (888) 726-3181 today.
The Pain of Medical Debt
In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said that more than 42 million Americans had medical debt. Studies also indicate that 66.5% of all bankruptcies were tied to health care issues.
As health costs continue to skyrocket and providers toughen their collection practices, medical debts can have painful consequences, like aggressive debt collection attempts, wage garnishment, liens, or even bankruptcy. Your credit score can also be adversely affected, hindering your ability to get financing for thinks like a home or vehicle.
While you may receive emergency care at a hospital where you have outstanding bills, there could be situations where you are refused treatment or be required to pay upfront.
Aggressive Collections Tactics
If a provider refuses to help resolve your medical debt, it will likely be sent to collections. Unfortunately, the process can be harsh and initially may subject you to collection efforts.
You may experience aggressive (and potentially illegal) collections tactics, including:
- Non-stop calling your residence, cell phone, or workplace
- Subjecting you to calls before 8 am or after 9 pm
- Calling from private or changing phone numbers to hide that it is a collection call
- Pretending to be someone other than a debt collector
- Telling others, they are a debt collector to embarrass or shame you
- Attempting to collect old debts or debts from another state
- Threatening you with legal action such as garnishment or liens
- Continuing to contact you after you requested in writing that they stop or after you said an attorney represents you.
Stop Harassing Medical Collections Efforts
By law, you can tell collectors to stop contacting you regarding your debts, but that often doesn’t resolve things. Consulting a debt collection attorney is one way to help fix your medical debt collection matter. A lawyer can help stop harassing collections efforts by handling the matter for you. Once represented by a lawyer, the debt collector will be required by law to only discuss the matter with your attorney.
Legal representation is important if you want to try and reach a fair settlement or dispute the amount owed, but it is also essential if you are served with a lawsuit to collect your debt. Failure to answer a lawsuit will likely result in a favorable judgment for the collection agency. The result could mean garnishment of your wages, a lien against your property, or other collection actions.
If your medical debts are considerable, you may need to consider filing for bankruptcy protection. Depending on your eligibility based on the means test, a Chapter 7 filing would eliminate your medical debt, or under Chapter 13, your debt would be part of a 3 to 5-year repayment plan. Our debt collections attorneys can advise you as to whether bankruptcy is a necessary option to consider.
Let LHA Help with Your Medical Debt
Medical providers, especially hospitals, are aggressively pursuing health care debt. If you owe a medical provider, don’t delay in finding a solution. Harassing and aggressive collections efforts by medical debt collectors are upsetting and stressful. We can help even if your debt has been sent to collections.