Aggressive Debt Collection Practices Target Ohio
Accident Victims Seeking Hospital Treatment
People injured in motor vehicle accidents who seek medical treatment from an Ohio hospital are becoming victims of aggressive debt collection practices. It appears from recent incidents that the hospital has chosen to bypass seeking payment from an injured patient’s insurance company. Instead, it has been billing the patient directly at rates that are higher than those normally paid under the hospital’s negotiated agreement with insurance companies.
The hospital has subjected accident victims to creditor harassment and, in at least 57 instances in a single 12-month period, filed lawsuits against those in default on payments. By comparison, other hospitals in the state resorted to filing lawsuits to collect consumer debt in significantly lower numbers.
Among the troubling debt collection practices of the hospital was having employees of a company it hired to collect delinquent accounts contact patients in the hospital to reveal sources from which the debt could be recovered. This and other collection efforts were reported by patients who claimed to have provided the hospital with insurance information that apparently was never used by the billing department or collection agency for the hospital.
If people with insurance coverage for medical expenses could have problems with aggressive debt collection efforts by a creditor, imagine the plight of those who do not have a third-party source of payment. Consumer debt, such as medical bills and credit card debt, can quickly overwhelm someone. Once there is a default on payments, creditor harassment, lawsuits, wage garnishment and other collection efforts are sure to follow.
A Cincinnati attorney who is knowledgeable and skilled in bankruptcy law might be able to help someone confronted with financial challenges and abusive debt collection efforts. The attorney could be a good source for information and answers to questions and concerns about handling consumer debt.
Source: Columbus Dispatch, “OhioHealth’s aggressive billing called into question,” Ben Sutherly, March 11, 2015