Bankruptcy can stop Arizona medical debt collections

Bankruptcy can stop Arizona medical debt collections

Just like credit card companies, hospitals sell debts to collection agencies when Arizona residents are unable to pay their medical bills. These debt collection agencies often come under scrutiny for their intrusive collection practices, including creditor harassment through continuous phone calls. As readers in the Mesa area may know, collection agencies sometimes even harass people through messages on social networking sites.

For patients already trying to recuperate from a medical illness, being hounded by debt collection agencies may be the last straw before filing for bankruptcy. Statistics show that medical bills are one of the most common reasons people across the country file for bankruptcy. Fortunately, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help Arizona residents eliminate medical debt.

The issue of medical debt came into the limelight again recently, when a grassroots organization claimed it had bought and wiped out $1 million worth medical debt for patients who had accumulated around $900 each for emergency room visits. The organization claims forgiven the debt of around 1000 people at pennies on the dollar in order to call attention to what the organization describes as predatory lending practices. The fact that the organization bought the debts using only $21,000 in donations demonstrates the low prices debt collection agencies pay for medical debt.

Once debt collection agencies have purchased medical debt from hospitals, they are entitled to try to collect the amount owed. They may turn to illegal practices such as calling debtors at unreasonable hours, contacting debtors once they have been asked to stop,and contacting third parties about debt. Unfortunately, many Arizona residents may not be aware that these practices are against the law.

Some Arizona residents may find themselves in a position where their bills exceed their income and they are no longer able to make ends meet. A recuperating patient's top priority should be taking care of health concerns, but patients may also need to consider options including bankruptcy in order to wipe out their bills and get a fresh financial start.

Source: The New York Daily News, "Occupy Wall Street offshoot buys and wipes out more than $1 million in medical debt," Carol Kuruvilla, March 16, 2013

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