Medical debt has been a leading factor for residents of New Jersey claiming bankruptcy. This poses a problem for medical professionals who may have sent unpaid bills to a New Jersey medical debt collection agency.
While the need for more affordable medical care is at the forefront of the U.S.’s economic goals, hospitals and doctors still need to afford to care for their patents and pay for staff and medical supplies. The entire situation is a Catch-22, but if you’re considering hiring a New Jersey medical collection agency, here are a few factors to keep in mind.
New Jersey Medical and Health Care Debt Collection Statistics
Nearly 200,000 New Jersey residents have to deal with medical bills every year. These numbers specifically relate to healthcare providers who treated patients outside of their insurance coverage. That’s why in June 2018, a measure was signed that instructs both medical providers and insurance companies to clearly disclose the scope of medical services provided under each insurance plan.
New Jersey also recently implemented Charity Care. According to LSNJ Law, “You will be eligible for full Charity Care coverage in 2018 if your annual gross income for the 12 months before your hospital care was not more than 200% of the federal poverty level, which is $24,280 in 2018 for a single person.”
New Jersey Medical Debt Collection Laws
In regards to new tactics such as Charity Care, New Jersey medical providers must offer long-term payment plans to their patients. These monthly payments cannot exceed more 15 percent of their discretionary income. Providers are also not allowed to send patients to collection agencies unless they have missed two or more payments throughout the year. They also must cancel any unpaid medical debt from patients who qualify as being disabled.
Overall, these new affordable actions have been put in place in order to prevent medical providers from sending patients to a medical debt collector. Collection agencies don’t have the best reputations due to the lack of stipulations previously set in place. Now, however, collection agencies must abide by my strict laws and processes so that medical professionals can remain on decent terms with their patients despite sending bills to collection agencies.
New Jersey Medical Debt Collection Agency Process
The statute of limitations in New Jersey is six years. That means that hospitals and doctors have six years in which they can sue patients for unpaid medical debt. This is a pretty uncommon tactic to take. The furthest medical professionals are willing to go is to simply send their unpaid patient medical bills to collections. When this happens, medical debt can show up on the patient’s credit report. There are no limitations on how long a debt collection agency can pursue someone for unpaid debts. Despite popular belief, it does not go away once the statute of limitations has been met.
Thankfully, New Jersey medical debt collection agencies now have strategic and rigorous processes for reclaiming the medical debt. The debt collectors will reach out to patients with outstanding balances via email, phone, or direct mail. Like most states, New Jersey medical debt collection agencies are prohibited from harassing patients for payment.
How This is Effecting Medical Professionals in New Jersey
Recently, New Jersey assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey proposed a plan to help residents with their medical debt. In lieu of sending their unpaid patient balances to a New Jersey medical debt collection agency, they want doctors to find a way to offer payment options. While this is a favorable factor for patients who can’t afford the rising costs of medical care, it puts medical professionals at risk of further delayed payment.
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