Medical debt can be absolutely crushing, and it’s a major topic in the US today as citizens across the US struggle to maintain their financial security in the midst of rising healthcare costs. Because doctors are the healthcare professionals that average people interact with most often, they are usually the people who have to deal with the frustration and anger that comes with the high cost of medical bills.
This issue is just as prevalent in Minnesota as anywhere else, and there are constant struggles from those living in Minnesota to cover unexpected healthcare costs. Accordingly, the state has passed some laws and regulations designed to manage these new healthcare based problems. They are subject to change but as of this moment, this is the state of Minnesota medical debt collection.
The State of Healthcare in Minnesota
The topic of medical debt collection is one that Minnesota legislators take seriously. In fact, the state has an agreement with medical providers and hospitals requiring them to charge a fair price for healthcare services. They are also not allowed to be aggressive in their attempts to collect on unpaid medical bills and debt. According to the current agreement, under-insured and uninsured patients who make less than $125,000 per year will receive discounts on their medical bills that have been negotiated by the insurance companies directly with the hospitals. This means that medical bills are less expensive than they might seem and that residents can get between 40 and 60% of their medical bills forgiven
Rules about Medical Debt Collection in Minnesota
The purpose of Minnesota’s debt collection laws and rules is to protect the rights of those who are in debt. Just because a person is not up to date on their payments does not mean that they are now subject to harassment. The laws outline several different rules that collectors have to adhere to. For instance, hospitals, medical providers, and debt collection agencies aren’t allowed to file judgments against patients. They have to stop collection efforts until they have established a collection process that meets these guidelines, and hospital administrators have to review patient records before they file a lawsuit against patients to make sure the insurance companies have been billed properly. They also have to offer assistance in the form of payment plans or free or discounted health care to assist them with paying their bills.
How Doctors Can Handle Medical Collection in Minnesota
Although Minnesota has some of the best healthcare resources in America, there are always going to be unexpected costs that cause people to go into medical debt. There are a few options for how to work with patients to make sure that their care is the first priority, but they are also addressing their debt.
- Be willing to talk to patients. The medical billing process can be confusing and being willing to discuss the charges and how they work is a great way to establish trust with your patients.
- Suggest contacting their insurance provider. If there’s an outstanding bill to be paid, it’s possible that their insurance company has made an error or has ways to help that they could use to pay their medical debt.
- Make sure your staff knows what resources they can offer. It’s important to educate your staff on what kinds of resources they can offer to patients to help them pay down medical debt.
As a medical professional, your highest priority should always be your patient’s well-being. But realistically, the financial side of healthcare will always be there. Addressing it with your patients respectfully and discreetly will preserve their trust in you but still allow you to collect on medical debt.