Medical Collections

Medical collection services are agencies that take the debts from medical offices such as doctors and hospitals and they attempt to collect on debts that have not been paid.


1. What Are Medical Collection Services?

Medical collection services are agencies that take the debts from medical offices such as doctors and hospitals and they attempt to collect on debts that have not been paid. Many doctors offices will pass on their uncollected accounts to medical collection services so that their staff can focus on serving existing customers that are in the offices. Medical collection services specialize in collecting debts from those that have not paid or have not responded to attempts to collect the debts. Medical collection agencies have been created to take the burden of collecting debts off of the individual medical offices, but still allowing the office to get paid for services that have been rendered.

2. Why You May be Sent to Medical Collections

If you have recently received a letter or a phone call from a medical collection agency there is a reason for it. Typically it means that you have not paid a doctor bill that is more than 120 days old. Many doctors do not have the staff or do not want to pay their staff to attempt to collect debts, so instead of spending more time trying to get you to pay a debt by calling you or sending you bills they will sell the debt to collection agencies for a small loss. The small loss that occurs when they sell the debt is usually worth it to the doctor because it gives them some capital to continue running their business and they can write off the loss.

3. How Medical Collection Agencies Can Benefit the Business

Many doctors offices utilize medical collection services because they have many unpaid debts that they no longer want to pursue. Each doctor's office has a different period of time that they are willing to seek out the patient that has not paid, and at that time they simply want to move on. Doctor's offices can benefit from medical collection because it allows for them to keep their staff focused on serving the patients that are in the building and paying. When they pass on the unpaid debts to medical collection agencies they are washing their hands of the debt.

Many times doctor's offices and hospitals will actually sell their debts to the medical collection services for a small fee. This seems backwards, but the resources that the medical establishment is expending in attempting to collect the debt are usually more than the fee that is associated with the medical collections. For this reason, it pays for the medical establishment to pay the fee associated with the medical collections services and be done with the debt altogether. While medical businesses have to pay to pass on their debts, it is usually a payment that the businesses make without thinking twice because at the end of the day it is saving them money and allowing for them to focus on patients that are in the building, and also gives them the capital needed to continue to run the business.
Many people assume that doctor's offices are not hurting for liquid funds, but this isn't true. Doctors have to work very hard to make sure that they can pay for the building that they work in, pay insurance, continue to pay for new equipment and supplies, and of course pay those that work for them. If no one paid their bills the doctor's would soon be out of business, or at the very least they would not have anyone working for them. For this reason, the practices and businesses are willing to take a bit of a loss when they sell their debts so that they have some liquid funds.

4. How Medical Collection Can Help the Patient

Many patients feel really badly when they are contacted by one of the many medical collection services that are out there today. While it isn't preferable that you wait to pay your bill until you have been reported to a collection agency, in some cases this process can actually help the patient. Many doctor's offices aren't willing to set up payment plans or the payment plans that they do offer are not affordable to the patient. Many medical collection services will offer payment plans for as little as $5 or $10 a month! Imagine being able to pay off that $800 debt in an affordable way that was not offered by the doctor's office? Sure, it is going to take you awhile but at least you will be able to pay off the bill and not have to live with the fact that the unpaid debt will continue to affect your credit negatively over the years.

Another way that patients can benefit from dealing with medical collection services is that these services are often willing to discount the amount that you owe them. For instance, if you are willing to pay $40 a month they may be willing to discount the amount that you owe by 20%, if you pay $20 a month than they may be willing to discount by 10% and if you are willing to make one payment for the full amount you may be able to get 50 or 60% off of the total amount due. This will allow you to take care of the debt once and for all and rid the total amount due of the interest or collection fees that have been tacked onto the doctor's bills along the way.

While waiting until you have been sent to medical collections is not preferable, if there is no choice patients may find that the process benefits them and allows for them to pay in a way that is more convenient or affordable for them. Don't simply discard the mailings that you receive from the collections agencies, instead take a close look at them and see if they can't help you clear the debts from your credit report once and for all.

5. Dealing with Medical Collections Services

Many people fear medical collection services because they have found that they are not nearly as friendly as their medical office was about the unpaid debt. One thing to remember when you are being pursued by a medical collection service for an unpaid debt is that their purpose is to collect on the debt that you owe. When you keep this in mind it is easier to remember that the way you are being treated is not personal. The individual that you talk to simply wants to collect the debt that you owe, and that is his or her job. There is nothing personal, or shouldn't be anything personal about the process of medical collections.

When you receive repeated calls from medical collections services you should be straight forward and honest with the people on the other end of the line. You should tell them when you cannot pay and when you can you should send them even $5 to appease them for a time. The idea is that you should show that you are willing to work with them and that you want to pay off the debt. When you show a willing attitude the medical collection agent on the other end of the phone is likely going to be a lot more friendly as a result.

6. Paying Bills Through a Medical Collection Service

Paying bills through a medical collection service is not at all difficult. Many times you will receive letters that will allow you to make payments through an automated telephone system or even online. This is often a great way to go when you need to pay on a debt because you don't have to actually talk to a person about why you haven't paid the debt or how much you are going to pay. Instead, you can simply make the payment through and automated system and be done with it. Another way to avoid talking to anyone is to simply send a check to the provided address if they do not offer automated payment systems via phone or internet. This will also allow you to fulfill your end of the process without dealing with anyone.

One really great thing about medical collection services is that they often offer discounts. You can receive as much as 70 or 80% off of the total amount that is owed. The way that the medical collection agencies can do this is that they bought the debt for less than was owed and then they tacked on a bunch of fees to that amount. When they are offering you a percentage off they usually aren't losing much money, if any. The way the agencies look at it is that some money is better than none and at the end of the day they will still end up making money. Patients may find that they are able to pay off their medical debts sooner than they ever thought possible with the discounts that are offered.

7. Learning More about Medical Collections Services

If you have a medical collection agent call you and you feel that something is just not right or something is not adding up, it is well within your rights to request that the individual sends you more information about their company and the debt that is owed. You do not have to pay anything over the phone if you are not sure of who you are talking to and what the debt is in relation to. If the company cannot provide you with this information you can seek more information about them by contacting the better business bureau. You may even want to call the medical office that could have sent in the debt information in and ask them if the company is legit. If no one has heard of the business and you cannot get them to comply with your request for more information about their company, you would be wise not to pay them.

8. Your Rights in Relation to Medical Collection

Medication collection is a result of non-payment on an account and while you may not feel good about that you do still have some rights. You do not have to deal with harassing or impolite collection agents and you have the right to decline to pay if you cannot. While you should try to make payment arrangements, it isn't always possible.

As the patient owing the debt you have the right to be informed about what the initial charges were and when they were incurred. You also have the right to be informed about any collection fees that have been added to the balance owed. When you are paying a debt you have a right to know what you are paying and you should never be ashamed to ask for information to make sure that you are paying what you think you are paying and that the terms are all fair to both you and the medical collection company.

9. Being Sent to Medical Collections is Not All Bad

While no one should aim to be sent to medical collections, it isn't the end of the world. When a medical collection agent calls you, you often have more options than you would if you were simply dealing with your doctor's office. The fact is that most medical collection agencies are willing to offer discounts or even accept really small payments. These really small payments allow for the most average person to pay off their debts. If you are dealing with medical collections services just remember that it isn't personal and that you will even find that there are some benefits if you cannot afford to pay off the bill immediately upon services rendered.

If you cannot afford to pay the medical collection bill that you get when you get it, just hold onto it. You can begin to make payments at just about any time, and even if you are only able to pay $5 at a time, you will slowly be able to pay off the debt and feel better about yourself. Medical collections will appear on your credit report, but you can clear them off over time and slowly improve your credit score!
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