HMR Can Help Keep Medical Debt Collectors at Bay

Kyle Kinberger, HMR National Sales Manager

An estimated 1 in 3 adults with an established credit history — or 77 million people — are so far behind on their debts that their account has been put “in collections.” And statistics support that about half of these collection cases involve debt collectors seeking to collect on unpaid medical debt.

This is a highly stressful situation that many plaintiffs in personal injury cases find themselves in. HMR may be able to help keep medical debt collectors at bay by paying for the plaintiff’s medical bills and even providing cash for living expenses as they recover from their accident.

Collections cases are much higher in certain parts of the country, according to an Urban Institute study. Among the states, Nevada had the highest percentage of residents with debt in collections — 47%. In the Las Vegas metro area, 49% of residents had debt in collections. Regionally, the South had the highest percentage of people — as high as 44% in some parts.

Once a medical debt is advanced to collections, it often follows one of three courses:

  1. The hospital, physician or other medical provider can charge it off and sell it to a debt buyer.
  2. The creditor can put the account into default and seek to collect what’s owed through an in-house collections department.
  3. The medical organization can refer the debt to an outside third-party debt collector.

In any of those cases, the cost to the consumer is high and long-lasting. It can harm credit scores, which can negatively affect employers’ hiring decisions, restrict access to mortgages, and even increase insurance costs.

Indeed, a collection case can stay on a person’s credit report for up to 7 years even after they have paid off the medical debt. And it will lower a person’s credit score for years — most dramatically when it first goes into collections status.

Half of all collections are for medical debt

Medical debt collections account for over half — 52.1 percent — of all collections reported to credit agencies. At this point, a plaintiff injured in a car accident, some other personal injury incident or because of medical malpractice is no longer dealing with a concerned physician.

Medical debt collectors are relentless, and will contact you at home and at work, by phone, letter, email or text message to collect a debt, as long as they obey the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Debt collectors have short term ties to the underlying debt and often introduce errors in collections reporting, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

Worse, medical bills can be a cause of confusion and because injured plaintiffs are often uncertain about what they owe, to whom they owe, when they owe, or for what they owe. Lack of price transparency and the complex system of insurance coverage and cost sharing means many consumers, including those who have health coverage, receive medical bills that are a source of bewilderment.

Ironically, a large portion of consumers with medical debt in collections show no other evidence of financial distress and are consumers who ordinarily pay their other financial obligations on time, according to the CFPB.

How medical funding helps plaintiffs

HMR offers funding services that may help plaintiffs in their time of need, by paying for their medical bills and even providing cash to help with their living expenses as they recover from their injuries.

We are personal injury medical funding experts and specialize in catastrophic cases, which many funding companies avoid. These plaintiffs are so badly injured that they cannot work and may need around-the-clock medical care.

Plaintiffs who are injured often have no medical insurance or they may have limited funds to pay for the medical care they require. In other situations, they may have health insurance but high insurance deductibles cannot be afforded to pay or policy limits that are too low to provide desperately-needed medical care.

Our company will typically purchase medical bills from a medical provider at an agreed upon discounted rate, and send the medical provider immediate payment. As a medical funding company, we will actually purchase the receivable – the medical debt — from the medical provider. We will do so in exchange for a lien on the settlement or verdict in the personal injury case. HMR will take the payment risk and we understand the long-term window involved in a case settling or reaching a verdict can be many months or years.

HMR can begin working when an attorney contacts us and furnishes an accident report and records about the injury. HMR may be able to work with the plaintiff’s medical provider. HMR has purchased receivables in over 40 states.

The plaintiff gets the relief of knowing that the payment issues have been resolved. This may give the attorney an advantage in the event the doctors are called as witnesses. The physicians can testify as disinterested experts.

Furthermore, the plaintiff attorney is not under pressure to settle quickly to recover medical expenses. Defendants often have deep pockets and will try to delay cases to try to force an early, unfavorable settlement for the plaintiff.

Again, we don’t get paid until the case settles or reaches a positive verdict.

Working with a full service medical funding company, like HMR, is a win-win situation for all parties involved.

  1. The plaintiff is able to get the medical care they need and the plaintiff may also qualify to receive living expense assistance.
  2. The medical provider is paid for their services
  3. The attorney can focus on fighting for justice for his client.

Contact us now or give us a call at 888-377-1245 to discuss your personal injury case

We will review your case, and may be able to purchase your medically necessary bills from your medical provider promptly upon approval. We often purchase medical accounts receivables from a nationwide network of high quality medical providers, or we can work with your provider of choice. The choice is always yours.

 About the author:
Kyle Kinberger is the National Sales Manager of HMR, a plaintiff-oriented medical funding company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia. HMR supports personal injury attorneys whose clients are either uninsured, under-insured or have been denied coverage.