One of the biggest sources of debt for many families is medical debt. This type of debt can cause a serious financial burden that can last for years. Many families end up filing for bankruptcy due to the overwhelming amount of medical debt and expenses that have been incurred, even if they had comprehensive medical insurance. If the bills remain unpaid, the medical facilities will eventually report them to a collection agency in order to demand payment. Some of these collection agencies have resorted to extreme tactics in order to collect the debt that, unknown to the debt holder, is actually illegal.
Fortunately, there have been some protections and laws put into place in some states that help people handle the amount of medical debt that has accrued. They are designed to protect patients from being accosted by aggressive medical debt collectors. The following protections have been enacted to protect citizens from illegal medical debt collection practices in some states:
Some states have written laws that will protect families that are at risk of losing their home due to massive medical debt. The law provides protection for a family whose medical debt will utilize a certain percentage of their monthly income.
Financial Assistance Law
In some states, there are laws in place that will assist families struggling with medical debt. The law will ensure that those families receive charity care, which is state-provided medical assistance for those with low incomes. The coverage provides low-priced or free care. These programs also control the hospital's billing and collection processes to ensure that it remains limited and free from harassment.
Protection From Balanced Billing
Balanced billing is a practice used by healthcare providers when insured families and individuals use an out-of-network provider. This often results in the insured having much more expensive medical bills. The out-of-network provider will bill the patient the difference in the amount of their charges and what the insurer will pay for the treatment. The balance is typically much larger than a co-payment for an in-network provider. Many states are starting to outlaw this practice to ensure healthcare is as affordable as possible.
These legal protections are available to patients and families to protect them from being hassled by illegal and aggressive medical debt collection practices. To avoid drowning in medical debt or going into bankruptcy because of it, work closely with an attorney, like Donald T Tesch, PS, and a financial advisor to see what options are available.