1 In 5 Nevadans Has Medical Debt In Collections
As hospital lawsuits against patients and other aggressive debt collection practices make headlines across the country, the Nevada Current reports that Nevada has a higher than average rate of consumers with medical debt in collections.
According to a study by the D.C. – based think tank Urban Institute, 21% of the population in Nevada has medical debt in collections, compared with 16% of the general population.
Sophia Romero, an attorney with the Consumer Rights Project at Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, says that local lawsuits from debt collectors on consumers have ranged anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000.
Romero pointed out that there are instances where a collection agency sues a patient who had coverage and was erroneously sent to collections. Romero has gotten involved in many of these cases.
“[O]nce we raise a valid defense or file an appropriate counter-claim, the underlying lawsuit will be dismissed,” Romero said.
Patients should be very careful about any paperwork having to do with collections. Sometimes these forms are not only payment plans but entail a legal admission of responsibility to pay.
Some patients will sign paperwork they believe to be the structuring of a payment plan, when really, those papers are confession of judgment forms, indicating the patient has accepted liability and consented to pay.
CQC has recently highlighted Nevada as a state with worse than normal problems with medical debt and aggressive collections from hospitals.