Hospitals and medical practices in the state of Florida are experiencing a growing problem with those they treat: Patients aren’t paying their bills. This trend does not seem to end or reverse very soon — and it’s causing unease and financial distress for doctors, Nursing homes, LTC’s (Long term care centers), hospitals and medical practices. Hospitals are suffocating under the mounting debt of patients and have for the longest looked to debt collectors as their sole way out.
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Medical debt in the state of Florida
As Florida remains one of the 14 states refusing to accept the federal offer to expand Medicaid to cover the State’s most vulnerable and needy, it now ranks among the states where residents are more likely to have difficulty paying their medical bills.
In 2016 the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, a health policy think tank and advocate for coverage, published a survey on medical debt in Florida. The survey found that 41 percent of residents had trouble paying their medical bills in the prior year, had medical debt or were contacted by a collection agency about unpaid medical bills.
Although residents of Florida reportedly already had difficulty settling their medical bills, the launch of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions in 2014, worsened the problem as legislators refused to expand Medicaid resulting in mounting unpaid bills, prompting hospitals to seek the assistance of debt collectors or file lawsuits in an attempt to collect old debts even when the statute of limitation had passed.
These methods are not always fruitful as Florida hospitals are still facing extreme difficulties recouping their funds. The fact that Florida does not have any unique medical debt collection laws outside of the Florida statute of limitations which time period can be affected by numerous factors e.g. the 5 year period on debt collection for written contracts and promissory notes and the 4 year period for Oral contracts and open-ended accounts (including credit cards), puts hospitals in an extremely disadvantaged position. The patient’s credit history cannot contain medical debts entry until the invoice due date is 180 days old and the credit report must be removed once the bill is paid off by the patient or their insurance company.
The Aftermath of unpaid medical bills for Hospitals in Florida
As a result of these numerous unpaid bills, even the most prestigious hospitals are obtaining a massive bad debt. In 2015 alone, U.S hospitals accumulated almost $36 billion in unpaid medical bills. And due to the slow nature of lawsuits, the debt just keeps growing.
Many hospitals across the country don’t want to foot the bill any longer and are now experimenting with pre-payment strategies for patients, with a growing number requiring payment before scheduled care and offering no-interest loans.
The trend is expected to make progress in the upcoming years and Hospitals in the state of Florida must follow suit to stay afloat or risk closing their doors. As Florida ranks high when it comes to unpaid medical bills, hospitals will significantly benefit from a system where patients can choose from a variety of options which provides them more time to pay their bills and give certainty to hospitals.
Hospitals in Florida are saddled with numerous unpaid medical bills from patients. Since Florida does not accept the federal offer to expand Medicaid, these bills keep piling up. It is best for Florida Hospitals to adopt the new trend and create a payment before scheduling strategy for patients. Pandemics like Covid-19 have put a combined loss of billions of dollars for hospitals in the state.
Hire a Collection Agency
When a patient has failed to pay for 90 days despite all your efforts, hire a Debt Collection Agency without wasting more time.
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