Debt is familiar to many North Carolina residents. While it can accumulate for many reasons, one of the most common is medical debt. As the past several years have shown, unexpected health crises can occur without warning. Even if it is a relatively minor issue, people can suddenly have massive medical expenses.
Those who have more serious and ongoing illnesses, injuries and conditions will face even more substantial debt. A common lament from those who owe for medical care is the seemingly endless pressure and phone calls they receive from debt collectors and creditors.
Bill would address medical debt to protect vulnerable people
A recently proposed bill would “de-weaponize” medical debt and protect consumers. If it were to pass, it would put limits on interest rates and unfair strategies to collect on medical debt. It would also clarify how the impoverished would be better shielded by the way financial assistance is provided. Those whose income is 200% or more below the poverty level would receive care free of charge.
New policies would be required of healthcare providers and hospitals as they would need to gauge the patients’ finances prior to asking for payment and help them in other ways. Medical expenses are one of the biggest reasons people find themselves in financial turmoil and it does not limit itself to those without significant means. Even people with good incomes and assets can be at risk.
Statistically, more than one in three people in the state had an unpaid medical debt that had gone to collection agencies. The tactics that debt collectors use include pushing the boundaries of the law, calling, sending emails, contacting the debtors’ friends, using social media, contacting their employer and more. This is stressful personally as well as financially.
Even with attempts to help with medical debt, people still need legal protection
Despite lawmakers’ objective to help those who are confronted with medical debt, the unfortunate reality is that aggressive debt collection and creditor harassment will likely continue. It is a prominent industry for many and aggressive tactics are often successful. People are frequently unaware of their rights and how they can put a stop to the collection practices.
For help with these financial challenges, it is imperative to have professional guidance. Dealing with hefty debt is worrisome enough without the pressure from various entities to collect on that debt. There are available solutions that can be used and consulting with experienced and reputable professionals can assess the case and find a path forward.