Debt can impact anyone in Illinois. For many, medical debt is the primary reason they face financial challenges. In addition to being unable to pay what they owe, they might be confronted with nonstop calls, messages and other forms of contact. Often, this crosses the line into harassment.
Those who are unsure how they will make ends meet and what they can do to get into a better financial situation may not realize they have options when they are being harassed. Part of the problem is how hospitals deal with debt.
A recent investigation showed that a growing number are filing lawsuits and issuing veiled threats against patients who have not paid their bills. Fortunately, there are ways debtors can put a stop to this type of behavior.
Hospitals are behaving in aggressive ways to try and receive payment
The investigation was conducted by Kaiser Health News. It found that hospitals are employing increasingly aggressive tactics to try and get patients to pay their debts. Some of their strategies include filing lawsuits, selling the debt and reporting the nonpayment to credit agencies.
This is happening across the nation. KHN did a wide-ranging assessment of the behaviors. In trying to extract information from the hospitals, some outright refused to discuss the matter. Still, there was enough information to gauge how patients are being negatively impacted.
Two in three facilities file lawsuits against patients or take other steps to recover payment. That includes putting liens on property or garnishing wages. The percentage of hospitals that report nonpayment to credit agencies was about the same.
One in four of the hospitals is selling the debt to debt collectors. This opens a new door to creditor harassment. An estimated 20% refuse to treat people in non-emergencies if they have medical debt. Two in five hospitals do not provide information on their websites about how they collect a debt.
Aggressive debt collection can be stopped with legal help
People who find themselves with massive debt they are having trouble paying or simply cannot pay will feel the stress and fear that accompanies these challenges. This is exacerbated by creditor harassment.
There are ways to put a stop to this behavior and find solutions to clear the debt. It is important to consult with experienced professionals who are skilled at stopping overreaching debt collectors while also helping with bankruptcy, debt relief and considering other strategies. Calling for help is a priority and should be the first step to putting an end to these collection activities.