A person with a chronic or progressive illness often requires frequent doctor visits, appointments with specialists and expensive medication. Similarly, an accident or acute condition may also result in costly procedures or treatments. Even with recent affordable medical insurance laws, out-of-pocket health care expenses can accumulate quickly, especially if a person in South Carolina has a high deductible, minimal coverage or no insurance at all.
In some states, hospitals used to charge higher rates to uninsured patients because insurance companies negotiated for lower rates for their customers. Those hospitals also tended to aggressively pursue payment of overdue bills, including garnishing wages and placing liens on property. However, many states passed laws prohibiting those practices and requiring fair pricing or even free care for low income patients who had no insurance.
Even though more people than ever have health insurance, medical debt still ranks highest among overdue bills that prompt calls from collectors. In fact, of those who have been contacted by a collection agency, 59 percent say it was for medical debt. More than one quarter of those surveyed say medical expenses have seriously damaged family finances. Delinquent medical bills are not limited to any particular age, income or credit score but span a variety of people.
Because medical care providers in South Carolina can seek payment in ways other creditors cannot, people who fall behind may suffer undue stress from the aggressive collection tactics. One way to prevent this is to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy not only puts an end to harassing calls and other communications, but it may discharge debt that may become such a burden it could actually delay one’s recovery.
Source: npr.org, “Medical Debt Often Leads To Collection Agencies’ Calls : Shots”, Michelle Andrews, Jan. 24, 2017