Major Life Challenges Blog Series

We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.

Medical Debt Wars Part 2

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Medical Debt Wars Part 2If you missed Medical Debt Wars Part 1, you can check it out here.

So, after I was handed a new medical bill for $3,000, I quickly went into panic mode. Not only did this latest medical bill send my anxiety through the roof, it re-opened old wounds in regards to my father's irresponsibility. 

In addition, the additional debt made me panic about my personal debt and credit score. I already had crummy credit and there was no way this was going to make it better.

Dirty debt collection practices

After I contacted the bill collecting agency, I learned more facts about what they were looking for. Since my father had not paid the debt on my behalf when I was younger, now that I was of age to have a job and pay it, they felt it was my responsibility. I didn't know if this was possible or even legal, but it turns out it was and it's becoming more prominent among dirty debt collection practices.

Medical debt is a "necessary to life" debt which means, it was a debt that was incurred because it required to live. The debt was originally for me and because I was a minor at the time and couldn't sign into any legal contract, it then went to the responsible party, my father. 

My father had allowed it to remain unpaid and didn't try to clear it up, therefore it remained open and the collection agency then sold it to another collection agency to keep it open and on his credit report. This second collection agency decided on a different approach and came after me instead of my father.

I was so angry; I called my father and screamed at him while he was at work. I felt like my father had finally done the worst thing imaginable, something that was detrimental to my finacial future. He felt so ashamed, I heard him crying. My father has never been good with finances but this was a new low, even for him.

After seeking legal advice from a lawyer, I was able to go about it two ways. I had already paid a small amount of the $3,000 off, which meant that I had acknowledged the debt. The lawyer told me that I should not have paid any of it, but helped me to write a letter to contest this debt on my credit report.

This, after a year, eventually fell off my report along with other medical debts my father had not paid from this hospital experience. I had to prove I was under age and did not agree to this debt legally, even though it was for me. I also had to deal with painful conversations with my father and the very aggressive, impolite debt collections office that was illegally using inappropriate debt collection practices to try to get me to pay this debt.

I also had to write a letter to report them as well. Debt collectors do not have to be the nicest people but under no circumstances should you let people disrespect you.

Just because you have acquired debt does not make you any less of a person.

  • If you or any loved one has acquired medical debt due to something similar to my circumstances, please do not hesitate to file a letter with the Credit Bureau. You are allowed by law to contest a discrepancy. It is your consumer right to be able to have fraudulent things taken off your credit report.
  • Also, follow through. It took a year and two more credit pulls to see that this was taken off. It pays to check your credit report and go over everything with a fine tooth comb. It's also a good idea to check up on things you might not be sure about.
  • It's also a good idea to check up on things you might not be sure about. A lot of consumers tend to overlook things or assume and it doesn't help to monitor their credit. Be credit smart!

Next in this series, how to successfully manage medical debt; at least the kind that's yours. 

Sincerely,

Serendipity

More from Serendipity:

Serendipity's Medical Debt Wars: Part One

My Name is Serendipity Smalls

 Serendipity

SerendipitySerendipity Smalls is the writer behind Serendipity’s Guide To Savings. She lives in Las Vegas with her fiancée and enjoys the finer things in life, such as Starbucks, song lyrics and bad reality television. You can find her on her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

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