Fairview Health Services is a business organization that is the controlling entity of many hospitals, clinics and specialty programs in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It is a non-profit that has under their umbrella 12 hospitals and medical centers, 56 Primary Care Facilities, 36 Pharmacies, and over 100 Specialties and care services. You may see their name, or a debt collector in behalf of them on your credit report if you owe a medical debt. Whatever your medical situation was, that is devastating enough. You don’t need the added stress of debt collection for your medical bills.
Fairview often sues people for unpaid debts. Maybe you have gotten a summons and complaint from them, or even a judgment. Fairview usually works with Riverview Law Offices, but they sometimes hire Messerli & Kramer or Gurstel Law Firm to collect their debts also. Bankruptcy is often the cheapest and most effective way to get rid of medical debts. It works on judgments and lawsuits also, and stops collection almost immediately.
Walker & Walker Law Offices specializes in helping people resolve their medical debt by filing bankruptcy. We offer free consultations to learn about your debt options, and if bankruptcy isn’t right for you, we will say so immediately. We have also helped people settle debts for less than the full balance, and found errors in the paperwork done by debt collectors that allow us to win settlements for our clients.
What Are the Laws Concerning Medical Debt in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, there are very specific laws concerning medical debt. These laws also apply to any debt collector, who is collecting on their behalf.
- Fair Price – All medical providers and facilities must charge a fair price to patients.
- The Agreement states – “Per the current agreement in place, both underinsured and uninsured patients whose income is less than $125,000 per year will receive the same discounts on their medical bills that insurance companies have negotiated directly with the hospitals. What this means is that people can receive a 40 to 60 percent price reduction on their medical bills.”
- Less Aggressive – They must be less aggressive in their collection practices of debt.
- Guidelines Must Be Developed – The process for disputing bills must have a developed guideline. Collections and judgments must be stopped until compliance can be shown.
- Patient Records Must be Reviewed – It must show they have been given payment plans, free or discounted health care and that all insurance companies have been billed properly.
- Cannot Withdraw Funds from Bank – Unless they have been given authorization by the court, they cannot withdraw funds.
- Zero Tolerance of Abusive Debt Collection – This is a state policy and the hospital must review and update their policies regularly. This also applies to any debt collector agency they hire.
- Law on Allowable Interest Rate – If the hospital sets up a payment plan with the debtor, the allowable interest rate is 8%. This is to keep the consumer from being overcharged in trying to retire their debt.
These are laws that will definitely help to protect you if you incur medical debt in the state of Minnesota. Medical bills can mount up so easily when being treated for a medical need. Of course, they should be paid, but when there has been a serious medical condition for yourself or a family member, you often need time to pay and need to be sure you have been given every consideration due to you. Your family income and situation should have a big bearing on this.
What Should You Do If Laws Are Not Being Followed?
If you feel you are not being treated fairly by this medical provider or any other medical provider, you do have a viable course of action. Also, sometimes the repayment requests are above what you can afford to pay and still provide the ongoing support of your family.
There are common mistakes made by debt collectors. Here are things they cannot do.
- Contacting you after you have asked them to stop by writing.
- Contacting you instead of your lawyer, or at an inconvenient time or at work.
- Talking to anyone besides you about the debt. Except for your lawyer, credit bureau, or anyone you have given as a contact.
- Not telling you within 5 days of contacting you, what you owe and to who, and that the debt is assumed valid unless disputed within 30 days.
- They cannot oppress, abuse, or harass. This includes swearing or threatening.
- Make false or misleading statements, such as lying in any way.
- Cannot make any unfair or unconscionable statements or actions. This includes trying to collect on a debt you don’t owe, threatening to take your property, or charging you fees for communicating with you.
If any of the above things are done to you, by law you are entitled to $1,000 which can be collected for you, and without legal fees.
Even if none of the above things have been done to you, the help you need to wade through the financial crisis that has resulted because of medical bills is available by contacting us. At Walker & Walker we are committed to finding the best solution for you to relieve you of this stress.