Medical debt can spiral into a debt collection situation before you are prepared to deal with it. At the time medical debt first occurs, you are usually dealing with health care issues -- sometimes, you are dealing with very serious emergency issues, and financial concerns have to take a back seat to life-saving therapies and a struggle through recovery. When you finally receive the bills for medical services, it can be shocking.
Sometimes, medical bills are turned over to debt collection agencies before you have time to get financial matters in order and come up with appropriate payment negotiations with a medical provider. If the provider has the wrong address, for example, they might send several bills and turn the debt over when they don't hear from you.
You might also get confused by the dearth of billing information that arrives from your provider, your insurance company and third-party billing companies that work with providers. After a major surgery or other event, it's easy to lose track of bills when you are receiving so many!
No matter what the reason, if you are facing sudden collections activities regarding your medical bills, it can be stressful. Medical bills are usually high dollar amounts and they can be hard to read. One Forbes contributor recommends that you obtain verification of any medical bill before you talk about payment options. Billing errors are common in the health care field -- reports are that up to 80 percent of such bills contain some type of error.
If you validate medical bills and you do own the money, then it's time to consider payment options. If you can't make payments on your medical bills, relief is available. While medical bills can't always be discharged in a bankruptcy, dealing with other debt can help you free up cash to make payments to medical providers.
Source: Forbes, "Medical Bill Suddenly Appeared in Collections -- What Are My Options?," Christina LaMontagne, accessed Dec. 04, 2015