When people don’t pay their hospital bills, the hospitals are often left with no choice but to take legal action. However, there are a few other things that hospitals can do to get the money owed to them.
1. Sue Patients for Medical Debt
This is possibly the most drastic measure a hospital can take against patients who do not pay their medical bills. A hospital can file a lawsuit against a patient to recoup the money owed. In extreme cases, this can lead to wage garnishment, liens being placed on your property, and even jail time.
2. Turn Patients Over to Collections Agencies
If a hospital decides that it would rather not go through the hassle of suing a patient, it can turn the debt over to a collection agency. This agency will then attempt to recoup the money owed by contacting the patient and setting up payment arrangements. If the patient does not cooperate, the agency may take more drastic measures such as wage garnishment or property liens.
Hospitals may also turn to denial management companies for assistance. They will investigate if an insurance company should have paid for the patient’s stay and collect that money.
3. Deny Patients’ Future Treatment
A hospital can refuse to provide further treatment if a patient has not paid their medical bills from a previous visit. This could include denying the patient emergency care or treatment for a chronic condition. Hospitals typically only resort to this measure as a last resort since it could harm the patient’s health.
4. Hospitals Can Require Payment Upfront
Hospitals often require payment upfront for services rendered. Patients are responsible for paying their entire bill before they leave the hospital. This helps ensure that hospitals can recoup the money they are owed without taking more drastic measures like suing or turning patients over to collections agencies.
5. Increase Prices for Non-Payers
Hospitals may also increase prices for services provided to patients who do not pay their medical bills. This helps offset some of the financial losses that the hospital experiences when patients do not pay their bills. However, it is important to note that hospitals are not allowed to discriminate against patients based on their ability to pay. So, even if a hospital increases its prices for non-payers, all patients will still be charged the same price regardless of whether they have paid their bills.
6. Place Liens on Property Owned by Patients Who Do Not Pay Their Bills
If a patient does not pay their medical bills, a hospital can place a lien on any property that the patient owns until the debt is paid in full. This includes real estate and personal property assets such as vehicles and furniture. A lien gives the hospital legal ownership of the property until the debt is paid off, making it difficult for the debtor to sell or refinance the property until it is cleared up.
5. Hospitals May Garnish Your Wages
If you don’t pay your medical bills, the hospital may garnish (take) money from your wages to pay back what you owe them. Garnishing someone’s wages means taking money out of their paycheck before getting it so they can’t spend it all on living expenses like food and rent or mortgage payments. The hospital can only garnish someone’s wages if they have a court order saying that they can do this and if they go through the proper legal channels.
6. Hospitals May Freeze Your Bank Account
If hospitals think there’s a good chance that they won’t get paid back for services rendered, they will often freeze an individual’s bank accounts with no prior warning, leaving said person unable to access any funds! In extreme cases – as seen with patients who rack up large healthcare costs – hospital debt collectors have even been known to resort to tactics such as raiding homes and seizing assets to recover outstanding balances. This understandably leaves people feeling panicky and hopeless, especially when negotiating payment plans or settlement agreements.
There are several ways that hospitals can recoup the money they are owed when patients do not pay their medical bills. These include turning patients over to collections agencies, suing them, increasing prices for non-payers, placing liens on their property, and garnishing their wages. In extreme cases, hospitals may even raid homes and seize assets to recover outstanding balances.
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