How to Settle Medical Debt in Collections
can add up quickly and if you cannot afford to pay, that debt could end up in collections. DoNotPay can help you settle your medical debt.
The number one reason that consumers file for bankruptcy in the United States is from substantial medical debt that they cannot afford to pay. With people having unprecedented medical bills due to COVID-19, this is especially true. While collection practices are governed under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), collection agencies, who most frequently buy debt for pennies on the dollar, still resort to harassing the consumer to try and get payment for that debt and some even get your stimulus check. This can make your medical debt all the more painful.
If you have a way to settle your medical debt, you can call your original creditor and make payment arrangements. This can keep you out of collections, and the collection actions off of our credit report. Many medical providers can even direct you to various programs to get assistance for that debt, including forgiveness for the total amount owed. While it is never a good thing to be sent to collections, you actually have far more rights with medical debts than you do for other types of debt such as credit card debt. Read on to learn about medical debts in collection as well as your rights and what collection agencies can and cannot do.
What Are My Rights When It Comes to Debt Collections?
The rights of the consumer are protected by the FDCPA. The FDCPA was put in place to protect the consumer from debt collection practices that include harassment, and deceptive or abusive debt collection practices. They will also guide you how to negotiate with debt collectors.
The FDCPA limits how many times a day a debt collector can contact you, the times of day in which a debt collector has to leave you alone, and what they can or cannot threaten you with. The FDCPA also provides oversight when you tell a debt collector to leave you alone. If you advise a collections representative, in written form, that you do not want to hear from them again, they are required by law to leave you alone. They can no longer make phone calls, send mail or send emails to you. Once your debt reaches a certain age, as outlined at the state level, the debt collection agency can no longer sue you.
If you need to contact FDCPA, you can contact them here:
|Mailing Address||600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580|
|Phone Number||(202) 326-2222|
|Email or Contact Form||Email Form|
Am I Protected From Medical Debt Collections?
Most states have put new laws in place to protect them from medical debt that they cannot pay for. New laws are in place in most states that give those who are indigent protection from medical debt collection. If you absolutely cannot pay your medical debt because you don't make enough money, then your provider cannot sue you for the funds that you don't have. For example, some states will not allow collections to pursue you for medical debt if your income is less than 200% above the poverty line.
Most hospitals and many providers also have programs in place to forgive debt when the patient has no way of affording it. Communication is key if you need assistance in paying for your medical debt.
How to Respond to a Medical Debt Collection Lawsuit
The first rule in collections lawsuits is to not miss your court date. If a debt collector files a lawsuit against you for failing to pay your medical bills, you need to make sure that you file an answer to the courts before your court date. The answer can contain any challenge to the amount you are being billed, asking for verification that the charges are really yours, or statements that you cannot afford to pay the bill.
If your statement is about finances, be prepared to prove to the courts that you cannot afford it by divulging your financial status, namely what money you bring in every month versus the amount you pay out in your monthly bills, such as rent, groceries, car payments, etc. Filing an answer can force the collections agency to prove that you actually owe the debt you are being charged for and give you a chance to talk to your original creditor about either a payment plan or debt forgiveness options.
How to Remove Medical Debt From My Credit Report
While medical debt never really goes away, paying off a medical bill will make a difference in your credit report. When a bill lands on your credit report, it leaves its mark in the form of lowering your credit score. The only way to have from your credit report is if you can prove that the debt is invalid.
How to Settle Medical Debt in Collections by Yourself
Here is the process you could follow to settle your medical debt in the collection on your own.
- Go through your bills and look for the collection notices.
- For each medical collection notice, contact the creditor and ask for the original bill.
- Confirm that the services were real.
- If the services were not real, if they were paid for by insurance, or if they were not legitimate charges, go to each credit agency and file a challenge against that bill.
- Wait for the challenge to be accepted.
- If the challenge is denied and you still believe the bill to be erroneous, gather evidence and file a challenge with the credit agencies again.
- If the bill is real but you cannot pay it due to severe hardship, contact your original service provider and request assistance.
- Fill out mountains of paperwork to get assistance from the provider.
- Get denied assistance
- File for assistance again.
- Try and find someone who will listen.
- If assistance is granted, request that the debt be removed from your credit report.
- If the request is granted but you still see it on your credit report, contact the credit agency.
- If the bill is something that you can afford, make payment arrangements.
- Pay your bill and watch your score as your paying the bill makes zero difference to your credit score since your debt was sold to collections.
- Find a credit expert and pay them a whole lot of money to clean up your credit report of things that you have already paid off.
- Repeat process for all of your medical bills in collections
Next Steps When You Cannot Settle Medical Debt in Collections by Yourself
If you are unable to settle a medical debt that is in collections, you can try the following things:
- If it is a matter of not being able to pay your bill, try and borrow money to pay it.
- Hunker down for the seven years that the collection remains on your credit report and wait for the statute of limitations to expire.
- Call the hospital or provider’s office repeatedly requesting forgiveness.
- File for bankruptcy to make your debt go away.
- Click on a button in DoNotPay.com and let them help you!
Using DoNotPay to Solve the Problem of Settling Medical Debt in Collections
When you are having trouble solving the problem of settling a medical debt that is in collections, let DoNotPay take over.
Here's how it works:
- Search “debt collection” on DoNotPay.
- Answer a series of questions about the debt collectors, including when you were contacted and how you were contacted, so we can determine if they have violated any debt collection laws.
- Decide which course of action you want to take based on our guidance, such as filing a debt verification request, demanding for the collectors to stop contacting you, or reporting them to the CFPB.
And that's it! Once you choose the course of action you want to take, DoNotPay will handle the rest. We'll deliver your request directly to the debt collectors via first-class mail, or file your complaint automatically with the CFPB so that they're no longer able to use unfair debt collection practices.
DoNotPay Has Options for Problems Across All Areas
DoNotPay is not just there to solve your debt collection problems. DoNotPay can help you solve problems in all areas. Have you gotten yourself in trouble from taking out too many payday loans? DoNotPay can help you consolidate them. Do you need access to standardized legal documents? DoNotPay is really good at that.
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There are so many different things that DoNotPay can do. Visit the DoNotPay site today to learn more on how they can help you. After all, they are just a click away.
What Else DoNotPay Can Do for You
Here are a few of the things that DoNotPay can do that might help you right now:
- Make a dispute letter.
- Get help with bills.
- Get your credit limit increased.
- Find missing money.
- File a financial aid appeal letter.
- Cancel those unwanted subscriptions and memberships.
- Clean up your credit report.
The possibilities are endless as to how many ways DoNotPay can make your life easier. Visit DoNotPay today to learn more.