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Some consumers harassed over medical debt

The second-largest number of complaints about collection agencies violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act comes from Florida, and in many cases, those debts are medical debts. Some collection agencies use prohibited practices like calling repeatedly, calling employers or threatening consumers. In other cases, the debts do not even belong to the people who are being contacted or were long since paid off. The issue goes beyond just headaches for consumers since bad credit can affect a person’s ability to get a loan or even a job.

One person filed a complaint in Arizona about creditor harassment after a collection agency phoned 18 times in 15 minutes. In a separate complaint, a teacher said an agency ignored her request to allow her time to look into the bill they were calling her about and persisted in phoning the school where she worked and called her son as well.

Billing systems can cause some confusion. For example, doctors may treat a patient at a hospital without being part of a person’s insurance network. People might receive the bills separately and think that they do not have to pay the doctor’s bills.

In other cases, people may simply fall behind on medical debt or other types of debt, including credit card debt. For some people, bankruptcy might be the best option for getting their finances in order again. People who have a certain income level and who want to keep some of their property, including a home, might be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 allows people to work out a payment plan over a period of three or five years and keep their assets.

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