What to do when a medical bill is sent to collections?

My boyfriend went to the hospital in an ambulance two years ago and never paid his hospital bill+ambulance. It got sent to collections and it has been sitting there on his report. He tried applying for credit care for an emergency vet visit the other day but didn’t qualify for that reason. It inspired me to help him move past this debt. He isn’t the most financially responsible. He currently lives with his parents so he is fortunate to not have high monthly bills currently. He doesn’t have any credit cards currently registered. I’m just wondering what the first thing to do is. How do we begin payment, is there a way to reduce the total, receive financial aid, any way to dispute any costs, and what are the effects once he is finished paying? It is over 3k in debt to give you an idea. In his defense he was 19 and had no knowledge of collection agencies and admitted to being ignorant about it all. 

11 Answers

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  • 8 months ago

    There are not for profit credit counseling agencies that can help you.

    Do not pay anyone to negotiate with the collection agency.

    The collection agency may have purchased your account from the original owner of the account at a discount.

    You may be able to negotiate with them to decrease the amount of the bill owed.

  • 8 months ago

    Call the collection agency. He can get a payment plan with reduced payments per month, but he will have to pay the full amount. Since he lives with his parents, he may have a little extra money to pay this off. His credit can't get better until he pays off this debt.If he can pay at least $100/month it may take almost 3 years to pay off.

  • 8 months ago

    Contact collections and try to set up a payment plan to keep it off your credit report since that would ruin your score.

  • 8 months ago

    He needs to pay it off.

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  • 8 months ago

    Medical collections are common. You need to contact the agency that is doing the collections, and talk to them personally about the debt. Try not to get upset when you do--sometimes it is difficult to get a straight answer. Either pay off the debt completely, or arrange to make payments to the agency. 

    Since you are not a legal wife you have no 'leverage' in deciding anything about this debt. Your boyfriend is the only person who can legally deal with them. Getting this bill paid should be his first priority. After it IS paid, then he can see about trying to get some credit established. One way might be to get what is called a "secured" credit card--this is a credit card you can use like any card, but you have to put a deposit into the card company's 'bank' to cover the limit on the card. Your credit score won't rise very fast--but it will be a way to show that you have a payment history, which eventually will bring your score up. You HAVE to get some info about financial responsibility for him, if he doesn't have any now. He needs to know what affects the score, what can be negative information, and how to handle money. 

    This process can and will probably take a year or more before you see an improvement. Just keep at it. Many young people are not fiscally responsible--and lenders and card companies know that--and adjust accordingly. Good luck!

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    Two choices - ignore it completely and it falls off the report in a few more years.  (about 5 more years.)

    Or - contact the collection company and see what arrangement can be negotiated.  

    Personally - I forgot about a medical bill (I thought insurance had covered it) and I discovered it on my credit report.  I paid it off in full and my credit score went up by almost 30 points just from paying that off. 

  • 8 months ago

    You can often talk to the collection agency and see if you can negotiate a reduced amount.  This site gives a good overview including tactics and making sure you get it recorded as paid in full.

    https://www.balancepro.org/resources/articles/how-...

    His credit will take time to recover.  The debt, even if paid in full, will remain on his report for 7 years.  The impact goes down over time, but it still has some sort of negative affect for that time period.  

    Medical debt does not expire.  You always owe it, but each state has it's own rules on how long you can be sued for it.  Know what those are in case it comes to that.  

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    He can pay off his debt to the collection agency .Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  • Anonymous
    8 months ago

    I would first determine if it's past the statute of limitations.  Medicals bills are considered the same as a written contract and typically have a longer statute of limitations date then say credit cards.  Just google statute of limitations for debt and where you live to find out the SOL for you.

     

    Is he being contacted over this debt?  Have they threatened to sue him?

  • Eva
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    Too late to dispute anything. His first mistake was ignoring it. If he didn't have insurance, he could have applied for financial aid from the hospital. All he had to do was call them about the bill. He'll have to pay the collection agency now. He may be able to negotiate with them. He doesn't really have an credit established. What he does have is bad. He needs to start building credit. The next step would be to apply for a secured credit card.

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