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Most collection agency calls concern unpaid medical bills

A recent government study reveals that consumers in Florida and around the country are more likely to be called by a collection agency about unpaid medical bills than any other kind of debt. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that medical debt is the reason for 59 percent of these calls. According to researchers, many of the consumers contacted were covered by health insurance policies when the bills in question were incurred.

Fears of taking on additional debt may be preventing many Americans from seeking treatment for themselves or their families. The Affordable Care Act was written partly to address these issues, but the recent election has placed its future in serious jeopardy.

Among the provisions of the landmark 2010 legislation were restrictions on how nonprofit hospitals can pursue unpaid bills. These provisions, along with the opening of online health insurance marketplaces, are credited with slashing the percentage of American families struggling with hospital and doctor bills from 22 percent to 17.3 percent between 2013 and 2015. However, experts are worried that a revised version of the law with fewer consumer protections could lead to medical debt in the country spiraling out of control.

While many people choose to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy to put an end to harassment and abuse from debt collectors, lawyers with experience in this area may point out taking this path also offers the possibility of a fresh start. Attorneys could also address the many myths surrounding debt relief and explain how credit can be reestablished following a bankruptcy.

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