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Unsurprising Medical Bills Can Still Ruin Your Day


Two new policies implemented in the past two years have provided a modest measure of relief from medical debt.  First, the No Surprises Act, which went into effect at the beginning of 2022, limits the amount that healthcare providers, including physicians, radiologists, and air ambulances, among others, can bill patients for services rendered on an emergency basis.  Second, a new rule about credit reporting states that unpaid medical debts with an amount of $500 or less will not appear on consumers’ credit reports.  When you consider the total medical debts owed by American consumers, you see a big improvement since 2021 in terms of the amount of new debt incurred, the number of complaints about unfair bills, and the negative credit report items related to medical debt, the improvement is noticeable.  Meanwhile, these reforms have not eliminated medical debt; their effect is more like elevating the consumer from the ninth circle of Hell to the seventh circle in Dante’s Inferno.  For help settling, consolidating, or discharging your medical debt, contact a d Boca Raton debt lawyer.

The No Surprises Act Helps, but Only With Emergency Room Visits

Before the No Surprises Act went into effect, insured patients often used to get surprise bills from the various providers who rendered services during an emergency visit.  In other words, the insurance would cover the ER visit itself, but if the hospitalist physician, radiologist, anesthesiologist, or ambulance was outside the patient’s insurance network, they would bill the patient at an out-of-network rate.  Therefore, patients would routinely be responsible for paying hundreds of dollars, or even more, for an emergency room visit.  Pursuant to the No Surprises Act, the maximum amount that any provider can charge as the patient’s responsibility is the amount that an in-network provider would charge.  The law also sets up an arbitration process for providers and insurance companies to negotiate payment for the portions of the bill other than the patient’s responsibility.  In 2022, insurance regulators saw a sharp decrease in the number of complaints about surprise bills related to emergency medical care.

Mickey Mouse Medical Debts Don’t Go on Your Credit Report Anymore, but You Still Have to Pay Them

Medical debts that have gone to collections can easily lower your credit score, making loans more expensive and more difficult to obtain.  A rule implemented last year prohibits medical creditors from referring unpaid balances of $500 or less to credit reporting bureaus.  Even though these unpaid bills do not appear on your credit report, you are still responsible for paying them, and healthcare providers can still sell the debt to collection agencies.

In other words, despite these modest relief measures, the cost of healthcare is still burdensome.  A debt lawyer can help you address your medical debt problems.

Work With a Debt Lawyer About Protecting Yourself From Medical Debt

A South Florida debt lawyer can help you if it has been a while since you have received a surprise medical bill, but the unsurprising ones are still putting a strain on your finances.  Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss your case.



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