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Collections Law/medical bill collection

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Question
Over the past 6 years, my wife and I have incurred numerous medical bills due to major illnesses and surgeries.  Although we were covered by insurance, we still incurred large amounts of debt in medical bills.  We have from the beginning paid these bills off one by one in monthly payments, or applying large amounts to credit cards for some bills.  The last episode was 18 months ago (kidney failure and a hospital stay) incurring $6000+ in bills. We have paid this down monthly to approx. $3200. Now, the hospital has sent us to collection for the balance with no notice, and no lapse in payments on our part.
We understand our obligation to pay this bill, but is it legal to send us to collection in this manner?

Answer
The unfortunate answer is yes.  Something may have changed at the hospital such as a collection policy or even a change in management.  My advice to you would be for you to call the hospital and point out your payment of prior accounts and a regular payment history.  They can, if they will, have this account withdrawn from the collection agency as "placed in error".  I wish I had better news and I wish you the best in this situation.

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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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