The costs of medical care continue to rise in Tennessee and around the country. Although the rate of this rise in costs has decreased since the adoption of certain federal laws in the last decade, being treated for an injury or illness, especially a serious or chronic one, can be a very expensive proposition. Further, even those with health insurance can end up acquiring large amounts of medical debt, as low-premium plans with high deductibles and low co-insurance percentages continue to gain in popularity.
All this means that many Tennessee residents who require a long hospital stay, expensive tests or imaging, extended periods of treatment or extensive therapy and rehabilitation may end up with huge medical bills. Coupled with the fact that the conditions that require the above types of medical intervention often cause a patient to miss a lot of time at work, people going through them may end up with an amount of medical debt that is unpayable.
When patients are unable to make payments on their medical debt, after some time that debt may be sold to a collections agency. These companies will buy debt for less than the total is worth, and attempt to collect the whole amount. This often starts with letters and phone calls, and may end up with litigation. But it important for consumers to know that there may be defenses to paying old medical debt. One of these is the statute of limitations that applies to debt collection in Tennessee, which is six years.
It is important to understand that the SOL is only a defense to a lawsuit. That is, the SOL does not wipe away the debt, or even make it uncollectable. A creditor may still attempt to collect a debt even after the six-year period has expired. Generally, the only thing that will wipe out the debt will be bankruptcy. Further, there may be actions, such as making a payment, that ‘re-starts’ the SOL. People who are having problems paying medical bills may wish to consider contacting an experienced Tennessee debt relief attorney.