Illinois faces debt collection issues just like the rest of the country. Doctors provide medical treatment to patients without the confidence that they will be paid on time. Unfortunately, several accounts receivable must be turned over to medical debt collection agencies to minimize losses resulting from unpaid patient bills.
If you are a medical professional in Illinois who needs the help of a collection agency, you must ensure that the debt collectors adhere to Illinois state collection agency laws. We’ve also included vital statistics that can help you decide whether or not to move forward with a collection agency.
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Illinois is governed by both state laws and federal laws, primarily the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA protects consumers from abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices by debt collectors.
Illinois has additional laws that supplement the federal law. For example, the Illinois Collection Agency Act regulates the conduct of collection agencies in the state. The act requires collection agencies to obtain a license and sets standards for their behavior.
For written contracts, the statute of limitations is 10 years from the date of the last activity.
Illinois Medical and Health Care Debt Collection Statistics
According to a recent report, Illinois has over $12 billion in civilian debt. Unpaid medical bills account for approximately $3.5 million of it. And those are just the numbers for state employees.
The Illinois state medical plan that offers coverage to its employees is the culprit behind these unpaid debts. It has resulted in the complicated decision to turn away state employees whose medical care does not cover necessary medical devices.
These situations lead to doctors losing their patients, sometimes even resulting in the patients filing for bankruptcy. Both of these situations can be avoided with the assistance of a collection agency that adequately deals with medical debt recovery.
Illinois Medical Debt Collection Agency Laws
In recent years, the U.S. has narrowly defined individual Statute of Limitations for each state. The limitations act as a guideline for Illinois medical debt collection agencies. It negates unprofessional and unwarranted behavior that patients have received from companies in the past. This type of behavior includes harassing, abusing, and using unfair practices in order to get a patient to pay their medical debts. HIPAA compliance is mandatory for collection agencies serving medical debts.
This conduct negatively affected the medical professionals who sold their debt to the collection agency. Thanks to the Illinois medical debt collection agency laws, these actions are no longer prevalent today.
The Illinois medical debt collection agency laws also enforce these two acts:
- Hospital Uninsured Patient Discount Act: This act includes 100% discounts for uninsured patients at certain income levels
- The Fair Patient Billing Act: This law ensures that hospitals provide their patients with multiple payment opportunities with requirements to effectively promote these avenues to their patients to negate the rise of medical debt.
Illinois Medical Collection Agency Process
Professional collection agencies take a friendly, diplomatic and obligatory approach to settle debts with patients. We want the process to be as smooth as possible and take pride in ensuring the relationships between patients and doctors remain intact.
The debt collection process includes maintaining regular contact with the patient and ensuring they know their payment options. Keeping detailed records of their payments and offering additional services such as skip-tracing, bankruptcy screening, and checking for change of address.
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