Is Medical Debt the Same as Other Kinds of Debt?
Medical debt is a common issue for many Americans, with over 60% of all bankruptcy filings related to overwhelming medical expenses. In Massachusetts, the question of how medical debt is treated compared to other forms of debt is an important one.
Medical debt refers to the money owed for medical services, treatments, and procedures. This can include hospital bills, doctor visits, prescription medications, and more. Medical debt is different from other types of debt in that it can often be unexpected, and it’s not always possible to budget for these expenses.
How is Medical Debt in Massachusetts Treated Differently?
Medical debt is treated differently than other types of debt in Massachusetts in a few key ways. Firstly, medical debt has a unique statute of limitations. In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations on medical debt is six years, compared to the standard statute of limitations of three years for most other debts.
In addition, medical debt is not reported to the credit bureaus in the same way as other debts. In Massachusetts, medical debt is only reported to the credit bureaus if it goes to collections. This means that if you pay your medical bills on time, your credit score won’t be impacted.
Are There Any Special Protections for Medical Debt in Massachusetts?
There are special protections in place for medical debt in Massachusetts. For example, under Massachusetts law, medical debt collectors must provide a 30-day notice before taking legal action. This gives you time to work out a payment plan or dispute the debt.
In addition, medical debt collectors in Massachusetts are required to abide by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This federal law regulates the behavior of debt collectors and provides protections for consumers, including the prohibition of harassment and false statements.
What Happens if I Can’t Pay My Medical Debt in Massachusetts?
If you’re unable to pay your medical debt in Massachusetts, it’s important to understand your options. One option is to negotiate a payment plan with your medical provider. Many medical providers are willing to work with patients to come up with a payment plan that fits their budget.
If your medical debt goes to collections, you may be able to settle the debt for less than what you owe. However, settling debt can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Another option is to file for bankruptcy. In Massachusetts, medical debt is dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning that it can be eliminated through the bankruptcy process. However, filing for bankruptcy is a significant decision that should be made in consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Deal with Medical Debt?
Medical debt is treated differently than other forms of debt in Massachusetts. With a longer statute of limitations and special protections for consumers, it’s important to understand your rights and options when it comes to medical debt in the state. If you’re struggling with medical debt, you may benefit from the assistance of a debt relief attorney who can help you understand your legal options and work with you to find a solution that meets your needs.
A debt relief attorney can help you in several ways if you have medical debt:
- Negotiate with creditors and debt collectors: A debt relief attorney can communicate with your creditors and debt collectors on your behalf and negotiate a payment plan or a reduction in the amount of debt you owe.
- Advise on debt relief options: An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and the various debt relief options available to you, such as debt settlement, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy.
- Represent you in court: If you’re facing a lawsuit from a debt collector over medical debt, a debt relief attorney can represent you in court and defend your rights under state and federal law.
- Protect against illegal debt collection practices: A debt relief attorney can help you protect against illegal debt collection practices, such as harassment, false threats, and violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
- Review your credit reports: A debt relief attorney can review your credit reports to ensure that the information regarding your medical debt is accurate and up-to-date.
- File for bankruptcy: If you decide to file for bankruptcy to eliminate your medical debt, a debt relief attorney can help you navigate the process and represent you in court.
Having a debt relief attorney on your side can help you effectively manage your medical debt and protect your rights as a consumer.
If you’re facing a legal dispute over medical debt, such as a collections lawsuit, you may want to consider working with a consumer protection attorney. A consumer protection attorney can help you defend your rights under state and federal law and represent you in court if necessary.
It’s important to find a debt relief or consumer protection attorney who is experienced and knowledgeable about medical debt laws in Massachusetts. Call Benner Law at 774-404-8321 for a free case evaluation!