Retirement: Medical collections
Do you know what to do about medical collections?
Medical collections are a problem for several consumers. Some consumers are unaware that they have medical collections until they receive a call from the collection agency or they apply for credit. According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), since 2013, debt collection is their top complaint and 52 percent of all collections are medical collections.
The CFPB is currently taking action against Syndicated Office Systems, LLC, which does business as Central Financial Control because according to CFPB, they mishandled consumer credit reporting disputes and prevented consumers from exercising important debt collection rights. CFPB offers the following suggestions to consumers to keep their medical debt in check:
- Review medical bills carefully
- Get documentation that the debt is yours
- Check your health insurance policy and make sure your provider has your correct insurance info
- Act quickly to resolve or dispute the medical bills that you receive
- Negotiate your bill
- Get financial assistance or support
- Don’t put medical bills on your credit card, if you can’t pay it; instead ask for a payment plan.
If you feel that you have been treated unfairly regarding your collection accounts, you can file a complaint with the CFPB. Additionally, you can pull your credit report for free to ensure unknown collection accounts are not present. Consumers are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® – for a total of three reports every year. You can obtain a free credit report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.
Michigan State University Extension offers workshops throughout the year to help you become financially healthy. Additionally, you can take the Financial Health Survey at MI Money Health to access if you’re financially healthy and discover more ways you can improve your financial health.