It’s not fun getting sick and confined in a hospital. Receiving your medical bills can hardly be considered a laughing matter. The exorbitant healthcare costs today can indeed put a toll on anyone’s financial capacity. Although a majority of people have health insurance plans, hospitalization is rarely 100% covered. Thus, many people have no idea that they have incurred medical debts until they receive a call from a medical debt collector.

In the U.S., around 32% of employed Americans have outstanding medical debt. Of those, 28% are saddled with over $10,000 of health-related bills. The results of the survey conducted by Salary Finance also showed that over half of the people who participated in the poll admitted to having defaulted on medical obligations. What’s surprising is that survey participants are working adults in companies that have more than 500 employees.

So, what is a medical debt recovery company?

Medical companies like hospitals, medical suppliers, and clinics usually don’t have the resources and workforce to go after patients who have unpaid medical bills. Many health companies resort to working with medical debt collection agencies so they can recover even a portion of the overdue bills. If you’ve defaulted on your medical bills, you can expect to receive a call from medical debt collection agencies. Here are three other reasons they might want to contact you: 

1. To Collect On Your Unpaid Medical Obligations

You should not be surprised to receive a call from someone who works for a debt collection company if you know you skipped payments on your medical bills. Typically, the agency will contact you after a couple of months from the day you stopped paying. In some cases, missing the current month’s payment is enough reason for your account to be transferred to a collection agency even if you’ve been consistent in paying your bills during the prior months.

Having health insurance coverage for your family is crucial, especially during medical emergencies. At the very least, you will not worry about missing work for several days due to unexpected hospital visits or even surgical operations. However, you must contact your insurance provider every time you use your policy for costly medical treatments. There could be certain items in your bill that require out-of-pocket payments.  

2. To Track Down Family Members Or Friends

Don’t panic if you hear from a debt collection agency. It doesn’t automatically mean that you owe someone something. Often, collectors call to ask for help in locating a family member or friend. If this is the reason why a debt collection company is calling, you should know that they’re not allowed to bother you every day or every night for the same reason. 

3. To Collect On Erroneously Recorded Debt

Debt recovery companies are legitimate, and they have the right to call you regarding your debt settlement. These agencies are aware of your rights, so they won’t bug you during ungodly hours. They won’t harass or threaten you just to wring money from you. Although debt collectors can be persistent, they won’t operate beyond what is set by law.

However, there are rare occasions when errors in their system can occur. For instance, a debt collector may call you for a debt that has already been paid. It’s also possible that the amount in question has already been cleared off from your credit report. There are even cases where another person owes the amount that the collector is calling you about. The point is, system errors can occur, and you can notify the collector about it. 

Conclusion

If you receive a call from a medical debt recovery company, for whatever reason, you shouldn’t panic. You just have to be aware of your rights. As a precaution, you should never give any personal or financial information to anyone who calls you regarding unpaid debts, whether legitimate or not. You should also not agree to any terms of payment and amount due even if you are aware of your debt. It would be prudent to ask for a bill and a reasonable time to study it. A legitimate debt collector knows that you have the right to examine what you owe, and will give you ample time to do so. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "3 Reasons You May Be Called By A Medical Debt Collection Agency," in Medicalopedia, February 9, 2021, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/9564/3-reasons-you-may-be-called-by-a-medical-debt-collection-agency/].