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Question
I underwent two separate medical procedures that cost upwards of 35-40k. Insurance paid for the majority of these expenses; however I was left with two separate bills totally about 2200 dollars. Being disabled, but not on disability, because I am employed full time I'm still on a tight budget. I originally set up a payment plan with the hospital, but fell on tight times due to unforeseen expenses related to another illness and the unexpected job loss of a family member who lives with me. I paid off one of the bills last month and missed two payments on the second bill. I just received notice that a collection agency is recommending my case for suit though I only have about 200.00 left to pay on this last bill. I also received a furlough notice from my workplace so will be taking an additional 24% pay cut for a few months, so really have not got a penny to spare at the moment. Do I have any recourse?

Answer
Jenny,

My goodness, when it rains it pours.  I do no know how old this debt is but all hospitals have charity program.  It could be possible that if you contact the hospital, they could write the balance off entirely or at least reduce the amount owed.  It seems odd to me that, after all of the money that has been paid, that they would sue you over $200.00.  First, I would check into the charity issue.  Next, I would go to the hospital and ask to speak with a manager in the business office.  Explain your situation to them and ask for more time or at least lower payment arrangements.  Be sure to take paperwork with you to back up your financial situation.  Be sure to point out the amount of money that has already been paid verses the small amount that remains.  If all else fails, ask them how much would they settle the account for.

Hospilals are very cognicent of there PR standing in the community. That is why I can not fathom the fact that they would sue over a $200.00 balance. It could be that they simply  are not aware of what the collection agency is doing.  I was the Patient Financial Resources Coordinator at a mid-size hospital and I know that I would not allow this type activity.  

I really wish you the best with this and if you need further assistance with this, please get back in touch with me.

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Ray A Miller

Expertise

I am qualified to answer questions on the following subjects: FDCPA, FCRA and HIPAA as well as medical collections, general collections and collection agency related issues. I trained these subjects at a nationwide collection agency and customer service call center and audited around 150 representatives for compliance to the laws. I have been in the Collections Industry for over 30 years. I feel that everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with compassion and that is the way I trained collectors. Even though I worked for a Collection Agency, I get great satisfaction in helping those who have been mistreated or in need of help with these confusing issues.

Experience

I was the Compliance Administrator with a nationwide collection agency and customer service call center-I have trained hundreds of collectors on the above referenced topics. I have been in the medical collections industry for over twenty years and research these topics on a daily basis.

Organizations
ACA International

Education/Credentials
Some college ACA Certified Collection Specialist

Past/Present Clients
I am retired due to medical conditions and spend a good deal of time keeping current on collection issues.

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