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Medical debt collection and consumer rights

An unexpected medical crisis can be scary for a Tennessee family. While people are worried about the health and wellbeing of a loved one, they may not think about the economic impact of the medical scare. Once the immediate threat has passed, however, people may soon realize that they have an overwhelming amount of medical debt. Even with health insurance, expenses for hospital stays or therapy can add up quickly. If a family is unable to afford these expenses, collection agencies may soon start calling.

Tennessee residents facing collection agencies need to understand that they have legal rights to protect themselves against aggressive collection practices. People may have heard of the Fair Debt Collection Act in the context of credit cards, however, according to the Federal Trade Commission, the FDCPA also applies to medical debt.

This means that creditors cannot engage in harassment, use threats, obscene language or multiple calls to collect a debt. They must avoid false statements and cannot insinuate that people have committed a crime by failing to pay a medical bill. Additionally, people are protected against collection agencies from talking to other people about the debt or from charging fees that are not allowed by law.

Furthermore, people have the right to ask that the debt be verified. This ensures that people actually owe the debt and that it is not a bill that has already been paid by insurance. People also have the right to tell a collection agency to stop contacting them -- as long as the request was made in writing.

An attorney can help to ensure that creditors follow these rules and all others under the FDCPA. An attorney can also help explain options to eliminate medical debt including bankruptcy.

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

Toll Free: 888-376-0282
Phone: 423-933-1606
Fax: 423-877-0363
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