By Consumers For Quality Care, on January 17, 2020
According to a recent report in The Miami Herald, medical debt collectors wrongly billing patients who had been on workers’ compensation and it has only becoming worse in recent years.
Florida debt collectors are repeatedly billing medical patients who they should not have, incurring expensive lawsuits. Many collection companies have decided to operate by sending out mass collection letters, rather than to investigate each bill to make sure it is in fact owed.
Jenifer Bosco, a national consumer law attorney, said the field is “crawling with bad actors who ignore or defy the law to chase after the sick and injured for money that they do not even owe.”
Bosco, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center who studies medical debt lawsuits, said that, too often, the center hears about debt collectors “suing patients for debts that have already been paid, suing for debts that the patient doesn’t owe, suing for debts that are past the statute of limitations, suing for debts that were already paid by charity care, attempting to collect from debtors who have filed for bankruptcy protection, demanding repayment of illegal or excessive collection fees, and more.”
These practices by debt collectors have fueled a boon for attorneys fighting back against them.
Florida consumer protection attorney Paul Herman described fighting back against debt collectors wrongly billing workers’ compensation claimants as the “bread and butter” of his legal practice, settling more than 100 cases in the past year and another “25 to 30” going to litigation.
The Herald noted that legal challenges — despite their high frequency in Florida — accomplish very little because there are not stiff enough penalties under federal law for the practice of wrongly billing patients.