A lot of Arizona consumers have been the stunned recipients of surprise medical bills. How? They are in need of a medical procedure, so they dutifully go to a hospital that’s in their insurance network. Later, they receive a large bill from an out-of-network anesthesiologist or some other type of caregiver. The bill is too large for the consumer to pay out of pocket. So this surprise medical debt goes to debt collections and their credit score drops. This is a BIG problem.
In order to address this issue that has plagued Arizona consumers for far too long, the state Legislature has recently approved a new bill. Senate Bill 1441, which has been signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey, seeks to limit the financial impact of surprise medical bills. For Arizonians who are hospitalized, this law should decrease the amount of medical debt that might otherwise end up in debt collections and on credit reports.
How the New Law Aims to Help Arizona Consumers with Medical Debt
When this new legislation takes effect in 2019, Arizona consumers with out-of-network medical bills that exceed $1,000 will be able to contact the Arizona Department of Insurance to request the appointment of an arbitrator. The consumer and the health-care provider will then have 30 days in which to settle the dispute through a telephone conference.
If the two sides can’t reach an agreement within this 30-day period, the case will go to arbitration. When an arbitrator steps in, the consumer and the health-care provider are expected to split the cost. The arbitrator will then make a decision, which may or may not be accepted. Both parties have the right to appeal the arbitration decision to the county Superior Court. Under this legislation, a consumer is responsible for making some type of payment toward the bill before the matter can be moved to arbitration. Namely, they will need to pay whatever deductible or co-pay amount is required by their medical insurance policy. Insurance providers are also expected to make their expected contributions before a case could move forward.
Ultimately, this law won’t excuse Arizona consumers from paying surprise medical bills. However, it will give them a chance to negotiate the amount that they’re expected to pay. By working with health-care providers, many consumers should be able to keep their unexpected medical bills out of debt collections. Of course, this legislation will only help the consumers who actually receive their bills.
Too often, hospital charges that aren’t covered by a patient’s insurance are just sent straight to debt collections. If this happens, a consumer will only find out about a surprise medical bill after it has already damaged their credit score.
How Arizona Consumers can get Help with Unfair Medical Debt Collections Right Now
If you’re being hounded by debt collectors about medical debt collections that you don’t think you owe, help is available. Arizona residents can get a FREE credit repair lawyer to help them with suspicious medical debt or other errors found on credit reports.
Don’t let errors and unfair medical debt collections on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (888)293-2882 or sending him a message through our contact page.