By Consumers for Quality Care, on June 29, 2022
There is a new proposed bill in the North Carolina state legislature to address medical debt collection and the practices used to collect outstanding debt, according to The Raleigh News & Observer.
The bipartisan legislation is being spearheaded by State Rep. Ed Goodwin in the legislature, as well as championed by North Carolina Treasurer Dale Folwell. The bill aims to end deceptive medical debt collection practices and make consumers more aware of their options regarding this type of debt. Currently, an estimated two million North Carolinians have medical debt.
Rep. Goodwin stated, “The way they’re being treated now, and the way bills are being paid and things that are being done, do not seem to be proper to me.”
One of the largest issues is how disproportionate the socioeconomic and geographical areas of impact around the state are. In urban counties like Durham and Wake, the percentage of medical debt remains in the low teens compared to 43 percent in rural Duplin County and 41 percent in rural Cleveland County.
One of the main provisions in the bipartisan bill is ensuring the credit scores of consumers who have medical debt are not negatively affected. In addition, the bill seeks to expand the amount and type of procedures hospitals can write off as charity care and allow consumers who are under-insured and those with high deductibles to qualify for more charity care.
CQC urges the North Carolina state legislature to pass this bill. In addition, CQC calls on states to pass their own laws taking on predatory medical debt collection practices and eliminate the predatory practices often used in collecting this debt.