I recently had a baby and the portion of medical bills that I have to pay is well over $8,000 to various companies. I tried applying for assistance to pay the larger bills through the hospital and I was denied. So I tried to arrange $20.00 payments and I was told I had to pay at least $60.00, which would be a real stretch for me. So they said they have to turn these into a collection agency, is this true? I have always heard people say that as long as you make an effort to pay off medical bills that they you cannot be turned into a collection agency. I am also trying to buy a house and I don't want these bills on my credit report, I just think that it is crazy that they expect me to pay that much a month when I told them I cannot do that.
I certainly applaud your efforts to repay these medical bills. Unfortunately, it is up to the creditor what they require in payments each month to prevent the account from going to collections. Technically, the bill is due in full at the time services are provided; any payment arrangement that the medical provider allows you to set up is at its discretion.
If you wish to prevent this account from going to collections, then you will need to make the payments required by the creditor. I understand that the $60 payments that they are demanding will be difficult for you to make, but since you are trying preserve your credit score so you can purchase a home, you may need to try to cut your expenses so you can make the payments required by the creditor. If you do not make the payments the hospital is demanding, they may turn this account over to a collection agency, which could have a negative impact on your credit rating. I encourage you to read the Bills.com personal budget guide, which may help you cut your expenses and make the payments being requested by the creditor.
You may want to consider this situation from the creditor’s point-of-view. If the creditor allowed you to make payments of $20 per month, it would take over 33 years for you to pay off this debt, not including interest. Even at $60, it will take over 11 years to pay off the bill, so the creditor is certainly giving you a fair amount of time to pay off your medical bills. I do not mean to minimize the hardship that these larger payments will cause you, but I simply wanted to let you know why the creditor is asking for more than $20 per month as payments on this debt.
Unfortunately, if you wish to keep these debts out of collections, you may have no choice but to negotiate a payment plan acceptable to the creditor. Hopefully, you can work these payments into your monthly budget. For a slightly different view of this issue, see the Bills.com resource If I Pay a Small Amount on My Debt, Can I Be Sued?.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn. Save.