Medical Debt Defense in Louisville
The confusing state of healthcare in the United States has created an environment where a shocking number of Americans are burdened with thousands of dollars in medical debt. This is often for necessary procedures that should have been covered by insurance. However, with some insurance companies habitually denying allowed claims or putting people on high-deductible plans, medical debt is almost inevitable.
However, you have rights when collectors begin trying to collect on your medical debt. Learn more about illegal practices, and to discuss your debt collection case in more detail, call Ron Aslam Law Office at 502-581-1676.
The Challenges of Medical Debt in the United States
It’s important to recognize that you have rights, even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed of the state of your medical debt. Too many people put up with harassing collectors, believing that it’s their fault for letting their medical bills go to collections. However, it’s not your fault.
In a system where everything must go through an insurance company and one procedure may have dozens of practitioners involved, this process is impossible for a layperson to understand. Even if a bill is incorrect, it’s unlikely that a patient will recognize that and fight for their right to have it reassessed.
The FDCPA and Medical Collections
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is the main federal law that covers what collectors can and cannot do when trying to collect on a debt. In general, this law forbids collection companies from engaging in abusive, deceptive, or unfair tactics to try to collect from a consumer.
However, it’s important to remember who must follow the FDCPA. It is only applicable to collection agencies, debt purchasers, and others who are legally permitted to buy debts and pursue compensation from the party who owes the debt. It does not apply to the party who originally owned the debt. This means that hospitals, clinics, and service providers are not covered under the FDCPA. Your debt must first be sold to a collection agency for the FDCPA to apply.
Common Billing Errors
Your first step to protect yourself from collection agencies is to challenge the validity of the original debt. This requires a copy of the actual bill from the service provider, not just documentation from the collection agency. Some of the most common billing errors patients find on their bills include:
- In-network providers being billed as out-of-network providers. You may have done your due diligence to verify that your care providers were in-network before choosing them for your service, only to receive an astronomical bill listing them as out-of-network. If you can prove that they are in-network or that they were listed as in-network at the time of your service, you may be able to correct this error.
- Billing for services that you didn’t receive. This can happen for a variety of reasons, from services getting canceled but still being billed for them to providers intentionally padding your bill.
- Double billing. If there are multiple service providers involved in your care, you may get billed for the same procedure more than once.
What’s Considered Harassment?
The FDCPA specifically prohibits the use of harassment as a way to collect debts. This is not defined in more specific terms, but can be assumed to include:
- Threatening to have you arrested if you don’t pay immediately
- Insulting you for your failure to pay a debt
- Threatening to call those close to you and tell them about your debt
- Threats of physical violence
In general, if something feels harassing, it may be worth discussing with an attorney. Debt collection agencies have limitations in place for a reason, but they often violate them because they know that consumers won’t stand up for their rights. By contacting a debt collection attorney, you can hold collectors accountable, protect yourself, and create better conditions for other people in debt.
Discuss Your Options with Ron Aslam Law Office
If medical debt is ruining your life and you feel like you never have a break from collection calls, we are here to help. The debt collection attorneys at Ron Aslam Law Office can advocate for you and help put an end to threatening calls. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 502-581-1676 or filling out our online contact form.