How to Remove Medical Debt Collections From Credit Reports

Updated on September 24, 2016
Cynthia Hoover profile image

Cynthia is a debt collections removal enthusiast. Cynthia feels everyone should know the in's and out's of having debt collections removed.

Medical debt can be a huge problem for those trying to build up their credit scores to buy a home. Hospitals will often sell medical debts to collection agencies—even when those debts have been paid!

I personally had over $80,000 worth of medical debt go to collections after a car wreck. These bills ended up going to medical debt collection agencies and firms before the litigation was complete. Even though all my medical debts were paid off in my settlement, medical debt collection calls and letters still come rolling in, even though the bills have been paid. Over the years I have managed to get these all removed.

Medical debt collection is profit, for both the doctors and hospitals that sell your debt and the collection agencies who hound you for payment. Hospitals sell your medical debt for pennies on the dollar to collection agencies. These agencies pursue you for the full amount owed. even though they bought your debt for only a fraction of that.

Both hospitalls and medical collection agencies continue to 'double dip' and sporadically hit my credit report for old debts that have already been paid. I ended up finding an easy way to get medical debt removed. After dealing with double-dipping, money-hungry debt collection agencies, you learn a few things.

Do You Have a Medical Debt That Has Gone to Collections?

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Questioning Medical Debts

I run my credit reports every year, and you should too. You can obtain a copy from all three credit bureaus once a year. This is where you can make note of all the debt collections, who owns them, and their contact information.

A red flag for me on my credit report was a large medical debt collection from the birth of my son. At the time I was covered with Blue Cross Blue Shield through work, as well as qualifying for pregnancy Medicaid that picked up the balance left by my insurance. There was no way the bill was legit; I did not owe that debt.

When I dealt with that particular debt, I found an easy way to remove medical debts in collection from my credit report.

Initially, I contacted Medicaid, as they should have picked up the balance owed for the medical procedure. They said that without an original bill, they could not assist me. So I sent a very well-written and polite email to the medical debt collection agency. Since I knew Medicaid would pay the debt, I had no fear of contacting the medical debt agency for an original bill.

Two days later I received a reply. The medical debt collection agency informed me they could not provide me with an original bill, and said they had been forced to delete my debt collection account. Something amazing and crazy had happened. The debt quickly vanished off my credit report in less than a week.

The HIPAA Loophole

Somehow I had managed to get a huge medical debt removed off my credit report with ease. Having no clue how I managed it so easily, I did a bit of research. HIPAA regulations in the United States prevent any medical documentation to be shared. That means that when the hospital sold the debt to the medical collection agency or firm that is all they got, just the debt. No information, no details. Just the dollar amount, and the date that it was acquired.

Oh sweet HIPAA regulations! We all sign a HIPAA form when we go to the doctor or a hospital. This form states that we only allow them to discuss our medical information with whomever we put on the form. Well guess what? That medical debt collection agency does not have permission to access your medical information. So they could not provide the needed information to get the debt paid, once I asked the right questions.

More Advice About Dealing With Medical Debt

Since my first successful removal of a collection report, I have learned a bit more about how to dispute medical debts in collection.

I do not recommend sending an email like I did in the story above. Here are some basic rules to follow when dealing with medical debt collection agencies:

  • Avoid calling collection agencies.
  • Send well-written, non-aggressive letters disputing the debt.
  • Send only Certified Mail, with signature confirmation.
  • Make copies In triplicate.
  • Use a budget planner to track the date you send each letter to each debt collector.

I keep a budget planning notebook. Writing out each individual medical debt and all the information in the ledger really helps you to organize the information you find on your credit report. It allows me to separate the smaller collections from the larger. It also allows me to separate them by date and company. If you have multiple debts going to the same medical collection company you can send multiple letters at once. You will easily be able to mark the collections off when you receive a reply.

Writing a Medical Debt Validation Letter

There are a few thing to keep in mind when sending a medical dispute letter. I got lucky with my first one and they removed the debt. Here are a few things to include in your letter:

  • I am requesting that (medical debt collection firm name) provide debt validation for (account number listed on credit report).
  • Debt validation in the form of an original bill and detailed statement of procedures is required.
  • Debt Validation should be received no later than 30 days from receipt of this request.
  • If (medical collection firm name) can not provide adequate validation withing the 30-day time frame, all debts should be immediately removed from all three major credit reports.
  • I request all further correspondence regarding this debt collection to be sent via mail. Do not contact me by phone.

Giving the firm 30 days is just polite; you need to at least give them two weeks to meet your demands. Always be polite in any contact with a medical debt collection agency. No need to be rude; more than likely they will be deleting your debt.

Always send letters certified mail with signature required. It may be tempting to just mail a standard letter to a medical debt collection agency, but if you fail to send a certified letter, there is no record of you sending your validation letter, which makes it impossible to prove the debt collector received it.

If you do not receive a reply within the allotted time, you move on to the next step. This is where you need your copies in triplicate, and your certified mail receipts.

Removing Those Medical Debts for Good

Once you have mailed your letters, one of two things will happen: either you will get a letter stating the debt has been deleted, or they will validate your debt. And if your debt is a medical debt, they just stepped in it by validating it!

What to Do When a Medical Debt Is Validated

Now here is where it gets fun: if by chance a medical collection does provide you with the details of your medical bill they are in direct violation of HIPAA regulations, facing fines (payable to you) of up to $1,000.00! Even possible jail time. Send a follow-up letter stating that you know they have directly violated the regulations of the HIPAA Act of 1996. Inform them that you never signed a HIPAA form to authorize them to have access to the information. You may also include that you intend to pursue filing a legal complaint unless they immediately delete this item from your report and stop all attempts to collect. Of course, you want that in writing too.

What to Do If the Medical Collection Agency Fails to Reply

If the medical debt collection agency fails to reply to your letter, you have a bit of work to do. This is where your Certified Mail receipts come in handy, plus those triplicate letters. Now you will compose a letter to all the major credit bureaus: this is why I said "copies in triplicate." You can make copies of your certified mail receipts to send as well.

Your letter should state that you made an attempt to validate a debt on your credit report. Say that you have yet to receive any validation or reply from the medical collection agency, since they have failed to comply with your request, or even contact you. Ask that the debt be immediately removed. It is also a good idea to include your contact information for followup from the bureaus. Be polite: no debt collector or someone at a bureau is going to respond nicely to any hostile letters.

What if the Debt Collector Agrees to Delete My Debt but Does Not

This is approached the same was as failure to reply. In this case you send a copy of the agreement to delete the debt—in addition to all your other paperwork of course.

As Easy as Sending a Letter

Simple as that. A simple well-written validation letter can do a lot of good. Keep in mind that it is possible that a newer medical collection can be sent back to the hospital or doctor that had it to begin with. I have not had that happen personally.

Just make sure to keep up with a budget notebook ledger. Keep detailed notes, and of course the big one 'signature confirmation' on certified mail! Sure it will cost a few dollars worth of postage to get the ball rolling. Well worth it to see your credit score improve when all those old medical debts are removed from your credit report! Every medical debt removed will help to raise your credit scores!

Never deal with any debt collectors over the phone. Even if you pay them, without anything in writing, they do not have to remove the collection from your credit reports. Always deal with debt collection firms via the mail, never on the phone.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Cynthia Hoover

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      • profile image

        devona 

        2 weeks ago

        I have sent a letter the collection agent has not sent me anything ,but credit beureau sid account was verified and meet FRCA Requirements. but collection never sent me anything.

      • profile image

        student here! 

        4 weeks ago

        thank you so much ! i know this will work for me , my issue here is thaty some bureas removed and some did not:( and they validated them. buty now 2nd step will be applty!!! savior! will update soon!! thank u !!!

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        5 weeks ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Shannon thanks for the comment. This can be effective in some cases for those who are just trying to get out of a debt they do in fact owe. However, their debt would then just be reported by another entity in most cases, or the original creditor will in some cases begin reporting the debt again. Sad to say but there are many medical debt collection agencies that do in fact report debts that have been paid. I am currently fighting with yet another collection agency over medical bills they are reporting that were indeed paid during litigation after a car wreck many years ago. It seems as far as credit goes there is not much regulation as to the reporting of medical debt. A quick look at the BBB website and I see over 2,000 complaints for the company attempting to collected my medical debts right now. My best advice to everyone is keep meticulous records of your medical appointments. A medical debt in collections can really pull down your credit scores.

      • profile image

        SHANNON 

        5 weeks ago

        Is this advice for people actually disputing the bills or for people that are just trying to get out of paying something they really do owe?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        2 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Pam, if it is a medical debt that has went to collections it is really worth a try! All it takes to try is a little time and effort. Worst case it does not get removed, best case it does become removed and your score improves. Best of luck to you.

      • profile image

        pam nelcon 

        4 months ago

        Does the Ambulence ride to emergency fall in the category of a Medical Debt for which I can write a Validation letter?

      • profile image

        juan c 

        4 months ago

        i have typed about 12 letters all using the same template, with different account numbers and different collection agencies,

        however these debts are all medical and all range between 100 to 400 the highest being 400, when i type these letters and send them via certified mail since about 10 of these letters go to the same collection company can i send 12 letters inside one envelope?

        one letter per account disputed not all on one paper. i hope i am explaining myself.

      • profile image

        Lisa 

        4 months ago

        What if there isn’t an account number listed on the credit report? It just list the date opened and the amount. Should I write this in place of the account number

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        4 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        You send the violation letter to the debt collection agency.

      • profile image

        Tiffany 

        4 months ago

        So should I send the validation letter to the CRA or the collection agency?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        5 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Buffie Trease, first see what the Statue of limitations is for your state on debt reporting. If you are lucky enough to live in a state that only allows the debt to remain on your report for 5 years, just wait it out. Is there anything in in writing that shows your details could have been compromised? If so you could possibly skip dealing with the debt collection agency and go straight to disputing. If you have some form of documentation that your identity was compromised submit those to the credit bureaus with a dispute.

        Worst case you need to negotiate pay for deletion. You can attempt to negotiate for a third of the debt. Keeping in mind you never communicate by phone with any debt collectors. You will need something in writing on company letter head. This way if they fail to delete once paid you can dispute with credit bureaus and provide proof of the agreement.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        5 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jackie2019 looks as if the way that is worded you have basically given permissions for them to indeed share your details with debt collectors. As 'other third party payers' is a very lose term and can be argued that it covers any and all agents that would be pursuing the debt. Your best bet is likely to negotiate a payment plan, with pay for deletion criteria.

      • profile image

        Jackie2019 

        5 months ago

        Cynthia, I love your article. My concern primarily is that the form I signed says :

        "I hereby Authorize _ Group to disclose to employer groups, insurance companies, government agencies or other third party payors and their agents or to utilization management companies, information in the form of verbal conversations, copies of the patient medical record and/or other documents concerning medical care or treatment that may be necessary for the payment on my behalf, for services rendered to the above named patient, which may include retrieval of my history".

        ANY help so greatly appreciated.

      • profile image

        Buffie Trease 

        5 months ago

        Cynthia,

        Hi, thanks for this article! I ran across it because I was looking up information on cleaning up my credit report and am hoping for your advice. On my credit karma report, I have 3 medical bills being reported in my name, all from a CBO Group (are you possibly familiar with them?) that are dated four years ago. I am not 100% sure they are valid, as all of my personal information has been compromised when my former employer failed to secure the information from our background checks (twice) and I've seen evidence of at least one person using my identity in California. However it is possible that they are valid. My original plan was to try to settle them, but then I ran across your article. So, I guess my question is, since they may be valid should I first send a validation request only on the lowest bill, so that if I am on the hook for the balance I don't have to try to come up with all the funds right away? I am currently in school, so my finances are pretty tight. Also, if it is validated, how much would you recommend I try to settle for? Anyway, any advice you have would be appreciated! Thanks :)

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        5 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Actually when it comes to court summons the best thing to do is seek legal advice. Most attorneys offer free consultations that you can use to get an idea of what the next steps to take are. You can respond by filing the Production of Documentation, however depending on the summons and terms used they may well be within rights to include information that would normally violate HIPPA laws. Legal documents can be a tricky thing, and it is always best to ensure you understand completely what they entail. The burden of proof falls to you in this situation to prove reasonably they do not have cause to pursue the debt. You should always appear it is often possible to avoid wage garnishments (if your state allows those for the debt should they win, if it would be a hardship for your family.

      • profile image

        tycope 

        5 months ago

        Hello!

        I was served this morning from an Attorney office for a medical debt owed to a hospital from 2011. The Statue of Limitations will end on 08/17/2018. After researching I think it would be wise to respond by filing a Production of Documentation with the court. However I have research the web and can't seem to find one that is fitting for my situation due to them being for credit card debt. Should I include anything about HIPPA Laws in this? This article was great and thanks in advance!

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        5 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        MC before you pay that medical debt send a certified letter to the collection agency. If you pay that debt without negotiating a pay for deletion and getting it in writing first it will still be on your credit report. The letter does not have to be anything fancy, but you want to send it certified mail as with any debt collection correspondence. Something simple 'I am prepared to settle this debt in full if (insert debt collection agency name) can agree in writing that the collection will be removed from my credit report once payment is made. Then do nothing until you hear back from them. Sometimes it takes a few back and forth letters to get them to agree. Once you have a letter with their company letter head agreeing to delete the collection once you pay then you can pay it. If they fail to delete the debt after as long as you have that letter with them agreeing to remove it, you can submit it along with a canceled check/receipt of payment to the credit bureau(s) for deletion. Best of luck to you!

      • profile image

        MC 

        5 months ago

        I just received a medical debt collection communication from the MCA yesterday (though dated May 31). It is not a large total and I am happy to pay it, though I am more worried about it showing up on my credit report. Is taking your advice in the blog the best plan of action or is it best to pay it? I called the hospital and they said it's best to pay the collector instead of the hospital, but I'm not sure I believe them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        6 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Amber Cosby that is a complicated situation. Yes and No would be the best repose I can come up with. The best info I offer in this article is to never contact a debt collection firm via phone for any reason. When you called them you may have given verbal authorization for them to access your records. Collection agencies end up getting permission via phone without the caller even noticing. Anyone looking to contact a debt collector should always use certified mail to do so.

        What you can try is contacting a law office that offers free consultations. Most will let you know right away if there was a violation of your rights under any circumstances. Then you can continue alone without representation with the above guide for debt removal. Or you may opt to allow them to help you if you so choose. Remember a consultation is only that, a consult and you are not obligated to use their services.

        In this instance not knowing what was discussed via phone, I would suggest a consult. It is free, and only takes a little of your time to see what way you need to proceed. You may also find a firm willing to do so over the phone.

      • profile image

        Amber Cosby 

        6 months ago

        NEED HELP! I recently received a letter in the mail from an Attorney stating the amount due, and if payment was not received they will move forward with collection activity. At the bottom of the letter it states "This communication is from a debt collector." So I called the office and asked for a debt validation that explains the amount owed and what it is for. The Attorney/Debt Collector sent me an email a few days later with the invoice attached. The invoice had my name, address, and a full list of treatments they did with how much each treatment cost beside them. Is this a HIPAA Violation?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        7 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jessica, it is worth a try. Though it often is situational for each individual persons debts. If you are not in a position to pay the medical debts, then you can try the method I have outlined and see what happens.

      • profile image

        Jessica Eller 

        7 months ago

        Hey, so I have 2 medical collection accounts on my credit report. I want to get them removed, but I haven't paid them. Do I still do what you suggested?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Daphne, I still use this method to get medical debts removed today. Most recently I had one deleted from my credit report last month. Patient details such as details of procedures and diagnosis are protected under HIPPA. Without having signed anything beyond the basic HIPAA your details should not available. Other than dates of appointments and costs. The only shared details of your treatments are if they are for treatments. Patient treatment such as a Doctor sending X-Rays to a specialist for a referral.

        HIPAA Privacy Rule will permit disclosures for public health and research purposes, under certain conditions . Of course, reading the agreement you sign with a medical profession when you sign a HIPAA release form with them would be best. This will let you know if there are any specifics stated that your agreeing to allow them to share your medical records should you default.

        There is no guaranteed to way to clear debts off your credit report other than paying them in full. This method worked for me and has continued to do so. Though it is often situational and every person's debts are a unique situation. If you want to test it out to take care of some of your debts start with a lower cost collection with the oldest day (closer to falling off your reports). If it works great, you can move onto others on the report. If it does not work for you then you haven't lost anything other than a little time invested in writing letters. Best of luck to you, I hope you find that this works for you!

      • profile image

        Daphne Dawn Herbert 

        8 months ago

        I am confused by this, from what I have read on government sites, the debt collection agencies are allowed to that information, especially once you've requested the validation. Otherwise this law would just wreck companies attempting to collect medical debt, right? I am very confused by this and have gotten soo much different information as I try to fix this situation. I am young and have found a lot of medical debt from when I just turned 18 that i don't know why its there. Its ruining my future but i don't know the best way to fix it. I'm concerned that requesting the validation will void any HIPAA argument.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Marilyn the best thing to do in that situation is not to ignore it. First see if you can set up a free consultation with a lawyer in your area. Most will do a free consult and during the consult they can give you an idea of your legal standing and how to proceed. If you choose to hire them for litigation would be up to you and your financial situation. Make sure you have plenty of documentation as well. The situation with litigation and debt is even if the collection agency obtains a judgement for the balance owed and your still unable to pay it, they really are not gaining anything. With the exception of wage garnishment, and potentially attaching your tax returns until the debt is paid off. It is important that you keep records and documentation even if you proceed without a lawyer and appear in court if a date is indeed set (if this happens you will be formally served with court documents). It is best to bring up that any wage attachments or garnishments would put a hardship on your family. That depends on the state you live in, not all will allow for garnishments of wages for debts. In the case of litigation odds are they can indeed verify that the bill belongs to you and is owed, that is not to say that a mistake did not happen. You may consider that if you owe the debt attempting to discuss a payment option that could suit your situation and rid yourself of the court case if they except.

      • profile image

        Marilyn 

        8 months ago

        What if a Hospital sends the so called medical bill to an attorney and He is threatening to bring you to court for the medical bill?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Dennis I personally find it best to do an individual letter for each debt. This way if they cannot validate the medical debt and you submit the paper trail you create with certified letters to the three major credit bureau to get the medical debt removed from you credit reports it is easily verifiable information for them. Create a single letter with multiple debts and accounts listed could cause a bit of confusion for whoever works in the dispute departments. It also lumps them all together for the debt collection agencies and while it maybe a time saver as far as writing and mailing letters it may prove easier for them to validate the debts as being yours when you dispute multiples in a single letter. Hope that helps, and best of luck to you!

      • profile image

        DENNIS VERESCHAGI 

        8 months ago

        if i have more than one account at a collection company is it ok to ask for there validation, all them in one letter

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jaime thank you so much, I am glad you enjoyed it! Best of luck to you getting the debts taken care of!

      • profile image

        Jaime 

        8 months ago

        Thank you so much Cynthia! I am going to draft the letter today! I will keep you posted. This blog has been golden. Thank you again.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Dennis thank you for the comment, the steps are outlined in the article. The first step in attempting to remove medical debt collections is contacting the debt collection agency first.

      • profile image

        DENNIS VERESCHAGI 

        8 months ago

        so are you saying to send this letter to validate to the collection companies or the credit bureaus

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jaime, check the dates and statue of limitations on reporting for the state in which you reside. If the debts are close to meeting the statutes for reporting cut offs with your state, I would likely just say don't stress it and wait for that time to be up. If you decide to negotiate with the debt collection agencies make sure to do everything via certified mail, and be sure your negotiating a pay for deletion. You need an agreement in writing that they agree to delete the debt once you have paid it off. Also keep in mind that you have wiggle room as far as the balance owed since the debt collectors purchased your medical debt for pennies on the dollar (so they will likely settle the debt for less than the full balance). Also be aware that if you set up a payment plan that once they start reporting those payments, it can negatively impact your credit score. Since the debt will then look as an active collection debt and start reporting as current and despite you paying it does have the potential to impact your score negatively. Now with that being said, if you successfully can negotiate (in writing, nothing via phone) a pay for deletion agreement, once paid they should delete the record of the debt off your report. It is important to have any such agreement in writing on the off chance they would not delete it once paid, you can show your payments, and your agreements in a dispute with the credit bureaus.

      • profile image

        Jaime 

        8 months ago

        Hi Cynthia, Thank you for the quick response. The Debt collection raising the amount is not showing up as a new charge, but just going up on the existing charge. The two credit bureaus did not send me anything yet, but I called them yesterday and they said they are not removing the charge. At this point would you call the Collection agency to negotiate the balance and paying it? I know contacting them is a very last resort. LOL. I love Credit Karma! It has helped me build my credit and stay aware and on top of any changes over the years!

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        8 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jaime so excited that Experian removed it for you. As far as the other bureaus that is a hard question to answer not knowing if they replied to your request with a denial of removal or not. If they closed the removal request and sent you something stating they indeed were able to validate that you owe the debt then you can attempt to dispute it again if you feel your supporting documentation is enough that it should indeed be removed. As far as the debt collection agency raising the balance owed I have personally never ran into that, is it showing as a new debt on your credit report each time, or just the balance itself changing? I do find that I have a lot of luck disputing via Credit Karma and they seem to remove the medical debts on my credit report in a shorter time frame as well, downside is you can only initiate a single dispute through them at one time. You may try using them for the remaining two credit bureaus to see if you have luck getting them removed via Credit Karma (it is free to sign up).

      • profile image

        Jaime 

        8 months ago

        Hi Cynthia: Thank you for this article. After the collection agency sent me a copy of my bill which states it was for Aenesthia I sent the certified letter and supporting documents to the 3 credit bureaus. I was able to get the charge removed from Experian, but Trans and Equifax did not remove it. The collection agency keeps raising the balance by $1. Any suggestions on my next step?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        11 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Anna, if you paid a collection without negotiating a pay for deletion there is nothing really you can do to get that taken of your report. Though it shows a $0 balance it was still a collection account and there is no real incentive for them to delete it unless you negotiate that as part of your payment agreement (ideally this should be done and you should have the agreement in writing prior to ever making a payment). You can try to contact the debt collection firm and inquire as to if they would be willing to remove it since it was paid, but they are not obligated to do so. Alternatively you can attempt to see if any of the reporting agencies will remove it since the debt has been paid, again they are not obligated to do so since by paying the debt your admitting that it is in fact a legitimate debt that you owe. I hope that helps, wish there was an easy fix for that!

      • profile image

        Anna 

        11 months ago

        Great information here! Does this same general process still apply if the debt have a balance of $0 ? I noticed an item on my Trans Union credit report that stated I had a collection account of $400+ that had been paid in full but is still showing up on my credit report. I'm wondering if there is a way to get that removed. Any advice helps! I'm new to the credit world.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        13 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Rob, I did miss your origional question some time ago and I am sorry for that. There are many ways to deal with anything related to medical debt. You can do any of the methods you requested. But if you choose to may the origional facility (hospital, or clinic) then you still pay the full amount in most cases, even when discussing a payment plan. Negotiating a pay for deletion with a Credit Collection Agency is usually a way to pay much less than what you actually owe. These agencies pay pennies on the dollar for your medical debt, and are often very easy to negotiate with . The problem is if people contact the OC (origional creditor) and pay through them that debt collection or charge off that was purchased by a collection agency may still linger on your report.

        Paying off a charge off or closed account does not always lower your credit score. That is why it is so important to always negotiate a pay for deletion, when you can pay the full amount at one time. Doing so allows that charge off to be completely removed from your credit report/history once you have paid it. It is paying these charge off collections in payments that often can lower your credit score. As you start paying them, they they start reporting payments again in a lot of cases. While we all know it is a good thing to pay our debts, for some reason paying installments on charge off accounts can negatively impact your credit score.

        I do wonder how your letters have went. I often find just sending the letters in with signature confirmation is enough that the debts are deleted, and I rarely need to do any futher follow up. Again sorry for the delay in responses, family health issues have been keeping me from checking in as often as I like.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        13 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        If you have filed a dispute Kayle you should get a response showing not just that it is resolved, but in who's favor as well. Did it come bac that the credit bureaus decided that you do in fact owe the debt, or that they are resolving to remove it? If it is the latter, simply remind the credit bureaus that this dispute was resolved and ask them to remove the debt accordingly. If they sided with the collector in this case, you will need to attempt steps to validate the debt and get it removed if at all possible.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        13 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jane, you should see a basic example in the article. These letter do not need to quote anything and simple really is best here. Just make sure your including the needed information within your letters to limit any back and forth with the debt collection agency that is not needed.

        Melissa C. an orgional bill would be nothing more than a statement showing what you owe for services rendered. By asking for this your still not signing off on a HIPAA form for that creditor. Your request for such information would not be a legal way for them to get out of having your signature on a form.

        Laura, that sounds more like the law firm working in tandom with the origional clinic, instead of as it's own agency to collect the debt. That is a tricky situation, your not likely going to get anywhere if that is the case, sine the clinic can legally provide you details. I do find it odd that they are using a law firm and telling you that you need to respond in 30 days. Medical debt is normally not something that they pursue legal action against. My advice would be to call the clinic since it seems the origional debt is still held with them and see if they offer financial waivers/assistance (many do have a department for that, and often help people by writing off the cost, or lowering the amount).

      • profile image

        jane 

        13 months ago

        do you have any sample that can be used? If i write my own do i need to add the law statues in them?

      • profile image

        Melissa C. 

        14 months ago

        Hi Cynthia!

        I was so excited to find this article and I sent my initial letter to FBCS (the collection agency) requesting exactly what you said. They sent me a letter back stating that this account will be on hold awaiting my response, along with a very detailed summary of the medical bill- with the coding AND the description of services.

        I work for a managed care organization and asked my Compliance Officer about all this. She said that since I requested an original bill or detailed statement, I basically gave them permission to access that information.

        I am not sure what to do now because of getting mixed information and finding various opinions on this on the web.

        What is your take on that?

        Also, how would you word the letter back to them stating that they are in violation of HIPAA?

      • profile image

        Melissa C. 

        14 months ago

        Hi Cynthia!

        I was so excited to find this article and I sent my initial letter to FBCS (the collection agency) requesting exactly what you said. They sent me a letter back stating that this account will be on hold awaiting my response, along with a very detailed summary of the medical bill- with the coding AND the description of services.

        I work for a managed care organization and asked my Compliance Officer about all this. She said that since I requested an original bill or detailed statement, I basically gave them permission to access that information.

        I am not sure what to do now because of getting mixed information and finding various opinions on this on the web.

        What is your take on that?

      • profile image

        Laura 

        14 months ago

        I need a little help. A clinic sold the debt to a collection agency and I received letter from an attorney rerepresenting the collection agency gaving me 30 days to respond asking if I would like an itimized statement from the clinic that sold the debt. Sneaky. Colusion? Who do I send a letter to?

      • profile image

        lvkfkf4ra 

        14 months ago

        hello,

        I wanted to know am I able to ask for debt validation when I filled a dispute and it said resolved; reported by grantor.

        And I also wanted to know if my dispute was resolved; reported by grantor and it stills says open, do I have to call them to close it?

        And I also wanted to add does my paratech ambulance bill fall under the hipaa law as well and I can fill the dispute like any other medical bill?(I asked because my dispute wasnt resloved for that bill and it said it was because it meets FCRA requirements)

      • profile image

        kayles 

        14 months ago

        hello,

        I wanted to know am I able to ask for debt validation when I filled a dispute and it said resolved; reported by grantor.

        And I also wanted to know if my dispute was resolved; reported by grantor and it stills says open, do I have to call them to close it?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        14 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Rob Cameron, Thanks dear, I have reported those comments as spam!

      • Rob Cameron profile image

        Rob Cameron 

        15 months ago from Austin, Texas

        Carillo Susan you are full of it. No one can do that so quit plugging a credit repair agency that is irrelevant and not above the law. This goes for you too Kevin Harper you hacks are full of shit. I'm reporting this person you two say is a credit repair person to the Federal Trade Commission and the State Attorney General's office for enforcement.

      • Rob Cameron profile image

        Rob Cameron 

        15 months ago from Austin, Texas

        The author is not responding to the important questions we bring up in the forum even with several days and sometimes weeks passing. The problem is people are seeking advice they need to act NOW with not days and weeks later. My advice is if you are gong to write articles for profit then you should also put equal time to being responsive to the feedback and questions your getting. I mean this NOT in a mean way but in a way that should be taken as constructive which in turn help you to be more reputable and profitable. Now I'll get a stern response :).

      • profile image

        Aliyah 

        15 months ago

        Hello Cynthia,

        Thank you for sharing this information. I am in a similar situation where I need an original bill and I am going to write a letter to the collection bureau. I have no idea where to begin or what exactly to say in the letter. I really want to be polite. I was wondering if you can please lead me in the right direction to write this letter. Thank you in advance.

      • Rob Cameron profile image

        Rob Cameron 

        15 months ago from Austin, Texas

        Cynthia,

        No I was referring to:

        Can we please see your feedback on the questions posted by your readers over the past few weeks? A lot of these posts seem to be closely related to one another so perhaps one post from you just hitting some of the points being asked about would be awesome. I posted a question about 8 days ago and was curious to hear your thoughts, or anyone else for that matter.

        After reading your article I have been faxing letters to a handful of medical creditors locking down their ability to release any PHI what so ever about me then a few days later I'm sending letters to the Collection Agencies that they all have contracted with demanding validation. Once they receive this letter it is my hope they will delete the entries when they discover their clients are too paranoid to release my PHI after getting my strongly worded letter.

        IF all this fails with a CA then and only then will I offer a "pay for delete" proposal with a reasoning of "I just want it to go away even thought it's not valid". Never pay a collection that has been charged off as it lowers your credit score.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        16 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Rob, by no one is responding I assume you mean the medical debt collectors are not responding to your letter? If so that is all covered in the article. You should have included in your letter 'Please respond and validate the debt withing X amount of days'. If you have had no reponse to your inquiries you send the copy of your letter, and the confirmation of delivery of that letter to the Credit bureaus. Explaining that you attempted to validate the debt because you did not recognize it and no one will respond to your validation letter. Then politley ask that they please remove the debt from your report as you have no records of it, and the debt collection agency will not respond to you requarding the debt.

      • Rob Cameron profile image

        Rob Cameron 

        16 months ago from Austin, Texas

        No one is responding.

      • profile image

        Diva67 

        16 months ago

        Hi Cynthia

        so, sent off validation letter to the collection agency asking for a copy of the record from the hospital. I did state that they should send the agreement that bears the signature of I, the claimed debtor (Alexandra Hewardt) wherein I agreed to pay the creditor. They sent me a copy of a physician statement instead. Does state

        the doc's name

        then where it was

        Procedure (only a number code)

        Is this sufficient validation, even without the copy of signature?

        I did write "Your claim will not be considered if any portion of the above is not completed and returned with copies of all requested documents.

        Also, I am wondering, if I sent this to the credit bureau, legally, would they accept the agency's validation or my request which was not validated? It is also stating my then insurance company which I no longer carry. Anything there?

        Please let me know.

      • profile image

        Alexis L 

        16 months ago

        Hello Cynthia!

        So I have a medical bill that began collections 2.5 years ago. They have filed a suit against me in my state of New Mexico. In the suit they provided letter of validation from the hospital's business office director that the account is "true and correct". They also provide a receipt of medical costs with the procedure(s) blocked off.

        I have disputed the with all 3 credit bureaus. Experian and Equifax removed it on the status of, "this account does not belong to me", I listed my reason that my lawyer has taken over my medicals bills and he is the one to be contacted. Yes, I am currently in a lawsuit over the accident which required the hospital visit.

        My question is:

        If I mail the debt collector requesting them to provide validation and charge information, would this be enough to prove that they are right? What would be my next step?

      • Rob Cameron profile image

        Rob Cameron 

        16 months ago from Austin, Texas

        Cynthia, very good article. I was never aware of this tactic or I would have done it a long time ago. I know it's been a year but I have a question and I hope someone can answer it.

        In order to force CAs to delete the medical collection account from your credit bureaus do you have to PAY the debt collection off first with the ORIGINAL medical provider THEN provide them a letter instructing them NOT to release any information about medical information/identifying information first THEN implement the tactic you write about?

        OR...can you NOT pay the original medical provider and simply demand debt validation from the CA to force them to remove it. It's been quite a long time for some of these so I wonder if I should give the medical provider a letter not to release any information.

        Can someone clarify this please?

        Rob Cameron

        robcameron65@gmail.com

      • profile image

        Toni 

        16 months ago

        Hello I recently seen on my credit reports a medical collection bill in the amount of $300 dated 2/17. I recently disputed this bill (no contract/ contract cancelled) via credit agencies in which I received a response from transunion stating it was verified and updated. Can you please tell me the next step I should do for I am looking to purchase a home soon. thank u

      • profile image

        Debra B. 

        16 months ago

        Thank you so much! Very helpful information. I will start my effort on this today.

      • profile image

        Keshia 

        16 months ago

        Thank you Cynthia. They didn't even provide a bill. The letter they sent just referenced the rule. Since it has been over 30 days since I

        received their letter, would it be too late to late to respond?

      • profile image

        Diva67 

        16 months ago

        Hi Cynthia

        In my letters, I have not admitted to my debt. The text states:

        "As we both know, I have the right to dispute this account, request for verification, and/or request for validation with detailed statement of this debt. However, in order to quickly resolve this account, I am willing to pay $xxxxx if you agree to delete this account from any and all credit reporting agencies. Please do not quote me that you are unable to do this. I am aware of both your rights as well as my own. We both know you are the source reporting this account and have the absolute right to report it, not to report it, or delete it from all reporting agencies. The purpose of this settlement is merely to have this item removed from all reporting agencies. We are both aware that paying this unverifiable debt is no benefit to me unless we can agree on terms. I am sure you are aware that paying a collection account does not bode well on a credit report and that merely having a collection on a credit report will have a negative impact whether paid or unpaid.

        Please note: This is not an acknowledgment of liability for this debt in any way of form. If there is any confusion about my position on this alleged debt, please refer back to the first paragraph of this letter in which I state: “I am unaware of this account…” That being said, let me be clear, this is NOT: a promise to pay, a renewal, an admittance to this debt, or in any way me agreeing this debt is mine. This is a restricted offer only. If you decline this offer please be aware another offer will not be made, as you may wait refer to H.R.3421 – Medical Debt Relief Act."

        This is what has been sent.

        Thanks...and any light you can shed on this would be great!

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        16 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jesslyn B, I would suggest asking the hospital or doctors office for something stating that they cannot find the original bill, this will make it much easier to get the debt removed. With that you should then be able to send a copy to the debt collection agency and tell them that it is not a valid medical debt. Then you can also submit that to the credit bureaus as well.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        16 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Diva, technically by offering a pay for deletion and sending that letter the debt collection agency can indeed argue that you have admitted to owing the debt. The collection agency will likely argue that if the debt was not yours then you would not have offered pay for deletion. Debt Validation letters should always be sent first, then followed by a pay for deletion request should they provide sufficient validation of the debt without breaking any Acts or laws that govern how debt collections can be handled.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        16 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Actually that rule generally means they can provide 'the minimum amount of information' required to validate the medical debt is in fact yours. You can try a rebuttal letter stating that if they cannot provide information to validate the debt then you will be submitting to the credit bureaus for removal. Identity theft happens, and they need to be able to provide you with even minimal information to validate the debt is indeed yours.

      • profile image

        Keshia 

        16 months ago

        Hello, I went through the process of sending a debt validation to the collection company for a medical bill. On the 30th day, I received a letter stating they are not required to provide any information due to the "HIPAA Minimum Necessary Rule". Is anyone familiar this rule as it pertains to medical collections. I read over it and am a little confuse as to how it relates to collection agencies.

      • profile image

        Jesslyn B 

        16 months ago

        Thank you s much for this awesome info. After going to my hospital where the alleged charge was made, I was told the original bill could not be found and to dispute the charge with the collection agency again. I was livid and confused. I had no clue of the direction I should go since I had already sent a dispute letter. However your wording, use of legal documents and reminding us that being nice does get you places, will make my new letter so much better. Thank you thank you.

      • profile image

        Diva67 

        16 months ago

        Hi Cynthia,

        This is a response to your last comment of my post. Was unable to make a comment underneath for some reason.

        I requested a validation and offered a lump sum to delete the debt from all bureaus. There is no admittance in owing the debt in the letter anywhere, found the template online. It was recommended. So, I'm hoping they must provide me with the signature otherwise they have to take it off, no?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        16 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Diva67, the information they sent you is not anything that would validate the debt. Since all of the information they sent you is exactly what you can find on your credit report they have not validated the debt in anyway. You are within your rights to request a copy of your signature agreeing to the services. However, it sounds as if you sent a pay for deletion request if I understand you correctly. Any debt collection agency (medical or otherwise) will almost always deny your first request at a pay for deletion request. If they cannot provide you with verification of your signature for the services you are being charged for you may have grounds to get the debts removed. All you can do is try to submit it to the credit bureaus once you get a response regarding your signature requests. It is always best to send a debt validation request before attempting any form of pay for deletion agreement.

      • profile image

        Diva67 

        17 months ago

        Hi

        Have another question on this subject. I sent validation letters to the collection agencies asking for validation of the medical debt. What I received in return is a denial of the offer....(where I am not admitting to the debt, but offering a sum so that they eliminating it from my ccreport. They rejected it. This was a template I used. They sent me copies which had the following information:

        1. Acct# (not sure where these came from)

        2. Date of service

        3. Hospital name

        4. Owed Debt

        5. Balance

        Nothing about services performed, what doc etc. Really strange records. Some days ago I sent another letter asking for proof of my signature of these services which I did not receive in the first letter. From your experience, if I m asking for a copy of my signature for these services and they fail to deliver, will they have to take this off the reports? Even if they send the above information in the first round? Just want a general response after describing my current situation.

        t to me or is the info they already sent valid? I want more proof of these claims, hence a copy of my signature request. Please let me know,

        Thanks!

      • profile image

        Tasha S. 

        17 months ago

        Hi Cynthia,

        I followed the instructions provided and in verifying the debt, they provided me with an itemized bill that included procedures completed. I believe this may have been a HIPAA violation. After receiving this, I have requested that they send me a copy of the signed release of information which states that I gave permission to have my medical information shared. In response to this request, they just send over the same bill again and didn't address my request. I requested it again and same response. What should I do next? Also, the amount that they say I owe is different from the amount on my bill. Thanks

      • profile image

        Valerie 

        17 months ago

        Hi Cynthia,

        Thanks for the quick response.

        I looked at the letter again. In short, It states that they are in receipt of my request for verification....etc. Enclosed is an itemized statement regarding account. So would that be validatio and if so is it a violation?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        17 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Excellent questions and thank you for your comment. The HIPAA regulations are linked within the article above. You can easily take a look what is covered under the regulations to gain a better understanding of if your rights were violated. Simply giving you a date of service alone is not validating the debt, nor is it violating your rights under the HIPAA act. I hope this helps you on your quest getting medical debt collections removed.

      • profile image

        Valerie 

        17 months ago

        Hi Cynthia,

        I recently followed your wonderful and helpful advice regarding a medical bill. The company has sent a copy for a date of service. I feel that this is a direct violation of HIPAA. My question is do you have a template that you can provide stating this.

      • profile image

        Ryan Marie 

        17 months ago

        I had sent a letter to a collector to validate a medical bill in collections. I gave them 30 days. It is now past that. What do I do next? I sent it certified and return receipt.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        17 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Tiffery, that is an excellent question! Your debt has been sold so the newest collection on your report would be what you dispute. I would suggest attempting to petition the credit bureaus for removal of the oldest collection since the debt has again been resold to another debt collection agency.

        It get's a little tricky if you have already indeed been paying on any debt that has went to collection you may be stuck. The debt collection agency will argue that since you had been paying the debt, that it does indeed belong to you (otherwise why would you have made payments on it).

        For those asking about account numbers, if you only have access to the last 4 digits of the account number, just include those in your letters. Simply put 'Account number ending in XXXX' in your letter. Most often you can find the full account number in any letters you get from debt collectors when they are attempting to initiate contact to get you to agree to pay the debt.

      • profile image

        Tiffery 

        17 months ago

        My question(s) are what do you do if you notice a collection on your report twice for the same thing? What do you do if you had paid on a bill but now are not? How do you know which bills to disbute?

      • profile image

        Jaimie 

        17 months ago

        How do you get your account numbers?? My credit report only gives me partial numbers??

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        17 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Venus has the debt collection agency sent you proof of these medical services, or are they just claiming to have a copy of them?Many debt collection agencies, not just medical will make all sorts of claims in an attempt to get you to admit you do in fact owe a debt. How to proceed is dependent on what they actually sent to you in order to validate the debt.

      • profile image

        Venus 

        17 months ago

        Hi cynthia,

        The third party collection agency has verified that they have a detailed bill of medical services that i owe which i believe is a violation of the hipaa law and they have mailed it to me. Do you have any sample letters that i can send to them informing that they have violated the hipaa law and requesting that the debt be removed

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        18 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jazmine Credit Karma isn't an actual credit report. You need to request a free copy of your actual credit report from the three major credit bureaus. You can do so by accessing their websites. A free copy is available to everyone each year in either a downloadable file, or you can request to have it mailed to you. It provides more in depth information for any debts and collections.

      • profile image

        Jazmine 

        18 months ago

        Cynthia this article is extremely helpful. I noted that you say to include an account number for your debt collections. I have credit karma, and they don't provide an account number, just contact information for the collection agency. I have never received any nailed correspondence for these debts to obtain an account number from. How do I proceed in drafting a letter without an account number to provide.?

      • profile image

        Joanne 

        18 months ago

        Hi Cynthia,

        I came across this blog a few weeks ago. I read through all the information you shared and others. Sadly I am in the same boat as many here. A little over a year ago I had an unexpected surgery. After the surgery it was found I sustained nerve damage due to improper positioning and that was found after months and months of other extensive medical procedures that I had to shell out for. In the meantime I had contacted an attorney who advised not to pay any medical bills until we had gone through all other medical stuff. After end findings and the torte reform in my state we could not go after the person who improperly positioned my neck and caused life long injury, it was just not doable as their attorneys have more than a billion dollar fund used to fight malpractice and we don't. So since my final med stuff and attorney meetings a few months ago all my bills went to collection which drastically changed my credit. I had only one minor thing on my credit and now this. I followed your instructions on letters to the Debt Collectors as for some reason my bills ended up going to like 4 dif agencies. I sent via certified mail. First agency letter came back as unknown address unable to forward post said it is not a physical address, yet was one reported on my credit file. I called the number reported from agency too trying to get an actual address and it was a cell and some guy named Craig, who has yet to reply and it has been almost two weeks now. Another came back yesterday and sent 3 bills with details of what each bill is for ie med procedure I had, office visit reason ect. So in that it is a violation from them of my HIPPA rights. I now want to know how you suggest I go about telling them this and if there is some template letter I can look at as far as how to approach them with this reading violation of HIPPA? Also I did contact Trans Union regarding the one Debt collector and invalid contact information and Trans Union said they cannot make debt collector report proper information nor tell them they have to provide me with it???? What can I do about that debt collector if I have no means of actually contacting them via mail to try to get debt validation?? I truly thank you for any answers and help anyone can give me on this. I intend on paying these bills but do not want my credit to crash and burn sooooo badly especially when right now I am trying to move and need my good credit back. THANK YOU THANK YOU.

      • profile image

        Andy 

        18 months ago

        Hi Cynthia. I pretty much followed the steps and the debt collector never responded. I decided to file a dispute with the credit agency Experian which was the only one they reported on. Experian did their investigation and came back telling me that the debt collector verified the debt was mine. I explained that I had proof of the letters and certified mail I sent in which they failed to respond. They basically told me it is pretty much validated and suggested I call the medical provider to help validate it. I asked them how would I know when I don't even know where the bill came from. The name on the collection report only states Emergency Medical. I feel like I'm stuck with no where to find resolution. Your suggestion is greatly appreciated.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        18 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Sam P. Sadly yes, debt collection agencies will indeed try to bully you into paying medical debts if they can. This is why it is always best to use signature confirmation and only use the mail to communicate with them, often they will attempt to get you to agree to pay the debt by manipulating you via the telephone. Always stick to certified letters when corresponding with a collection agency on any debt, not just medical debt.

      • profile image

        Sam P. 

        18 months ago

        Thank you Cynthia. After going back to the website where I read that info I realized that it was written by an attorney who represents a large collections agency in the U.S. and may have been written for the purpose of scaring people away from disputing medical debt. I guess it worked because it scared me at first.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        19 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Sam P. You should be requesting that they validate the debt. If a debt is held with a debt collection agency and not the original Doctor or Hospital you have never filled out a HIPAA release form with the debt collection agency. So I am unsure where you are finding this information in your research. In fact any debt collection agency that provides you any of your medical information in order to verify the debt, is in direct violation of the HIPAA act, and should they provide any such information subject to prosecution and fines should you choose to pursue them.

        I have heard of debt collection agencies attempting to get people to fill out a medical release form, after they have mailed in a debt validation letter. However, you are under no obligation to fill a medical release form out for any medical debt being held with a collection agency or firm. The burden of proof is on the debt collection agency to provide you with validation to the debt in question. In no way are you obligated to fill out a medical release for them to do so.

        I hope this helps clear up your questions!

      • profile image

        Sam P. 

        19 months ago

        In doing some of my own research I have read that by sending a letter to the collections agency requesting debt validation in the form of an original bill, you are giving them permission under HIPAA to access your medical information and provide it to you. In your experience does this sound true?

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        19 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Diva67 Thank you so much for your reply. As you can imagine it is extremely difficult for me to really offer opinions on personal situations since I am not physically looking at any documents that were sent to people. I will do my best to see if I can point you in the right direction. First off if this debt is currently with your doctors office and not a debt collection agency I would suggest not pursuing it further. There is no perfect letter or template to send regarding debt validation, if you refer back to the information in my article it covers everything you need to include when contacting debt collection agencies.

        The HIPAA ACT covers the following areas of your personal information:

        The information your doctors, nurses, and other health care providers put in your medical record regardless of how long ago the information was recorded. Any conversations your doctor has with nurses and other staff about your care or treatment and procedures regardless of if you are in front of them, or after you have left the office. Information held in your health insurance companies computer system database that involves your health. Your personal billing information that is on file at your clinic or personal doctors office. Most health information about you, your procedures that is held by those who must follow federal privacy and security laws specifically pertaining to health information.

        Those are just a few examples of what is covered by 'The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)'. More detailed information is easily accessible on the web and you can find the complete HIPAA ACT by searching. I really hope that helps.

        As far as judgments filed, I doubt that will happen. If your medical debt is now in collections that debt collection agency 'purchased' your debt from your Doctor, or the hospital you were treated at. They paid as little as $0.01 per every $1.00 you owed. For example if you owed a office visit charge for $100.00 and it goes to collections, the debt collection agency likely paid $1.00-$5.00 to take over that debt and pursue you for it. So it is usually uncommon for a medical debt collection agency to pursue judgements in court. It is not a worthwhile cost investment for them to file charges since they have so little invested in the debt to begin with (and litigation can drag out for months, costing more in man hours than your debt was ever worth).

        I really hope I helped clear some things up for you and pointed you in the right direction! Please always feel free to comment and I will do my best to help in anyway I can.

      • profile image

        Diva67 

        19 months ago

        I have a few med bill collections and was wondering if you could share with me a solid med bill validation letter template and also a

        HIPPA follow up letter (delete from ccreport). I have sent a validation letter requesting as much information about the actual debt and received the following info from the agencies:

        Agency 1:

        Sent a copy of services provided:

        1. emergency visit including lab work provided

        Did they break the HIPPA laws above sharing with this information?

        Collection agency 2.

        Send copies only of hospital collections. (Hospital name, date of service and nothing else)

        I have no clue what these charges are as they include 20 of them. Small number, but still getting up there in total amount.

        What is the exact definition of HIPPA and what can I do with agency 2. How will I know the services provided. Should I ask for a financial responsibility letter signed for this? Nothing has been filed against me (judgement), so Im wondering if they do not have enough info on this debt. What other info could I ask for to validate this better and get better chances of getting this off my report?

        Thanks and have a wonderful day!

      • profile image

        Joann Mac 

        20 months ago

        Thank you for this information. Question...I have requested from the collection company (via certified mail) Information about this debt, including 1)whom I owe the debt to 2)age of debt 3)details about their authority to collect this debt. Their response letter consisted of the name of medical institution, account number, and a "Special Release of Medical Information" for me to fill out, as this was for my 17 year old daughter. No other information that I requested was returned to me. My question is, do I fill out this form to release medical records? She is now of age, I'm not sure if they are requesting this information because of HIPPA or some other reason. This debt is in my name not hers. Should I call the medical institution and inquire, as this is the first I have received ANY bill or any correspondence from anyone. I came to the conclusion this bill is over 4 years old, due to it being my daughter and the facility. How should I proceed? Thank you in advance.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        20 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Jenevieve90 you will find a section of my article that covers writing a debt validation letter to send to debt collection agencies. If you have already sent a validation letter and the debt remains unverified you would dispute the debt for removal directly with the three major credit bureaus. I hope this answers your question, if not please feel free to comment again and I will do my very best to assist you with the information you need.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        20 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Ashley, as I mention in the article you need to weight the pro's and con's prior to requesting debt validation. If you do in fact owe the debt, and a hospital validates then you have no recourse for having said medical debts removed. It is then up to you to negotiate a payment plan or possibly negotiate to settle the debt for a fraction of what you owe in order to have the debt removed from your credit reports.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        20 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Leticia, if you are getting collections notices from a hospital and have already paid these debts you can contact the hospitals billing department directly. There are times these are an oversight by an automated system that kicks out the billing notices. I have had a few similar debts show up and a simple call to the hospitals collections/billing department was enough to have these cleared up.

        It is a good idea to keep any and all documentation for medical procedures, doctors appointments and especially receipts for any payments you have made. It maybe something they want a copy of in order to remove the debt, or mark it as paid in their systems.

      • profile image

        Jenevieve90 

        20 months ago

        Hi, do you have a copy of the hippa letter so I can send one for myself? My email is jenthoby@yahoo.com

      • profile image

        Ashley 

        21 months ago

        What if they have the hospital send proof?

      • profile image

        Leticia Nicholson 

        21 months ago

        What if you medical bills were reported by the collection department of the hospital and are correctly paid? How would I get those removed from the credit report?

      • profile image

        Courtney 

        21 months ago

        Do you have a sample of the letter you sent back about the HIPPA rights? I 3 places respond and immediately remove from credit report but I had a few that sent me medical information with their letter.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        24 months ago from Newton, West Virginia

        There are many templates for debt validation letters available online. It does not have to be anything fancy, or perfect by any means! I am no expert, but I will share what has worked for me with my medical debt collectors.

        For example:

        Dear (Medical Debt Collection Agencies Name and/or the individual's name from the agency that contacted you),

        I am writing you in regards to a recent correspondence regarding a medical debt. The account number is (insert the numbers you find under account on your credit report, or on the debt collection letter you have received) also put the date of the debt as listed on the collections.

        I am requesting that the medical debt account in question be verified, and proved to be a valid debt, for services I received (be sure to never say 'this debt is not mine, or anything admitting that the debt in question is in fact yours).

        Please provide documentation to validate this medical debt collection account no later than (two weeks from the date you are mailing the letter - to 30 days). If you cannot validate this medical debt I am requesting its prompt removal from my credit reports within (30 days is best).

        Please send all supporting validation documents to (include your name and address here). I am requesting that all further correspondence be done via mail with the USPS, and no contact should be made to my place of work, or my home phone.

        Then sign with something like 'Thank you for your time and understanding, followed by your name'.

        All you really need in the letter is a request for validation of the debt, the account information that you do have and your timeline. Timeline of removal or validation, make sure you send your letter signature required via certified mail! If the debt collection agency fails to validate your debt a copy of the signature (this way they cannot deny that you attempted to validate) and a copy of the validation letter will be what you submit to the credit bureaus for removal of the debt.

        I save mine as a template on my laptop, this way it is easy to just pop in the info for each debt collection agency and account numbers and print two copies. Then I just do the same for each medical debt that continues to pop up! Always mark a calendar with your times so you can always stay on top of who has replied by the deadline in your letter and who has not.

        Also keep the removals for your records, the credit bureaus will send you confirmation when they remove any debt that you have disputed. So later on if it pops up again, you can use having it removed already for lack of validation as a way to get the medical debt collection agency to remove it.

        7 years later, and I still have the same old medical debts pop up on my report! So always keep copies of what you have had removed!

      • profile image

        Drea 

        2 years ago

        Are you able to give a detailed outline of the letter to send? I'm not usually good with this type of thing and I'd like to be sure I'm wording things appropriately.

      • Cynthia Hoover profile imageAUTHOR

        Cynthia Hoover 

        2 years ago from Newton, West Virginia

        Sheldon, if it is indeed past the statue of limitation for California then you can simply dispute any debts, medical or otherwise with the credit bureaus for removal. Use the reason that it is past the statue of limitations for collection.

        However, the medical debt can still be shipped off to a collection agency. Every time a a debt is placed with a collection agency the statue of limitations starts over with the first day they place the debt on your credit report. By all means dispute it for removal and then if it pops back up request that the collection agency validates the debt. Odds are with a medical debt that old they will be unable to provide any information.

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