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Medical debt and the move to get patients to pay their bills

Unfortunately for many people in Hot Springs, the cost of medical care is on the rise in this country. Even with health insurance, there are a number of people who are feeling the pressure of paying off hospital and clinical bills. Sadly, those people with the largest medical bills are the same people who oftentimes cannot work because of medical conditions, meaning the bills are coming in, but medical providers may not be getting paid. For many, the search for debt relief is an attempt to get rid of medical debt.

Understandably, medical providers and individuals in the debt collection field want to be able to collect medical debt, and so they have formed a coalition tasked with developing best practices for dealing with debt. 

The guidelines are focused on the time between when the bill is created and when it is eventually paid. The coalition is taking up patient education, as well, focusing on explaining the medical debt and the process to pay it off. By presenting various options on how to pay, the coalition hopes to see a larger number of patients resolving their medical bills.

It also wishes to give patients four months to pay a bill before the creditor reports the unpaid debt to the credit bureau, institutes wage garnishment, or files a lawsuit or lien.

It is likely, however, that there will still be people unable to comply with these new best practices. Some may turn to bankruptcy and other forms of debt relief as a way to get out from crushing medical debt.

Source: Forbes, "Hospitals, Debt Collectors Rush To Create Standards For Collecting Patient Debt," Evan Albright, Sept. 4, 2013

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