Kathryn DavisEvery day, people come to our offices seeking relief from debt collectors.   Millions of Americans are contacted by debt collectors each year, many related to medical expenses.  In fact, survey results from a January 2017 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) study show that more than 40 million Americans are contacted each year about medical related debt.  That is more than one in eight Americans!

Healthcare is Complex and Expensive

Healthcare in this country has been and continues to be very complex and expensive.  This leads to many people dealing with high or even incorrect bills due to the complexities of medical billing. To collect debts that hospital or medical offices are unable to recover, the health care providers will turn to debt collection agencies or law firms to attempt to collect on those debts.  Additionally, some health care providers will sell off their debt to debt collectors for discounted prices, sometimes pennies on the dollar.

For those suffering from serious medical problems or an extended illness, medical debt collectors can add additional stress to an already stressful time.  Yet, the medical collection business does not only affect those with legitimate debts.  According to a new study released by Frontier Group, medical debt accounts for more than half of all collection items that appear on consumers’ credit reports.  In this study, 17,701 medical debt collection complaints that were submitted to the CFPB were reviewed.

Medical Debt Complaints

The complaints to the CFPB on medical debt suggest that many of the people contacted about medical debt should not have been contacted on those debts.  The report states that 63% of complaints about medical debt collections claim that the debt being collected was never owed in the first place, was paid or discharged in bankruptcy, or was not verified as that consumer’s debt.  In addition, many of the complaints assert aggressive or inappropriate collection tactics including calls harassing family, frequent calls, threats of legal action, or use of abusive language.

One the physical pain of a medical issue is resolved, many are left with the emotional toll that comes with medical bills and medical debt collection.   If your medical debts have become unmanageable, please contact one of our offices and we will work with you to get you the much needed relief you deserve.

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