Physicians have the right to collect outstanding bills from patients as long as the charges are legitimate. If you do not pay in a timely manner, a physician may send your medical debt to collections. The Vermont Medical Society confirms that this option is becoming more common. Once a debt is sent to collections, laws prevent the collection agency from harassing you; but you must resolve the debt.
A physician may collect legitimate debts from patients. However, you can negotiate with your provider to reduce your bill or make payment arrangements to prevent your medical debt from being sent to collections.
According to Debt.org, the collection of medical debt is becoming a more common and serious problem in the United States. This is primarily due to changes in the health insurance industry, such as high deductible and coinsurance plans, that result in higher out-of-pocket expenses for patients and families. Additionally, the cost of medical care is on the rise leaving more and more Americans dealing with debt from medical services.
Boston NPR’s Healthcare Savvy recommends requesting a “hold” on the account so that you may review the itemized bill for errors, dispute incorrect charges and negotiate payment arrangements. Rather than risking collection, you may negotiate your medical debt with the provider. Be sure to keep records of your contacts with your provider’s billing department in case any agreements are disputed in the future.