How states are targeting hospital medical debt collection

State officials are pursuing reforms amid increased media attention on medical debt collection lawsuits, according to The New York Times.

Health systems have been in the news this year for lawsuits they have filed against patients, including the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville; Richmond-based Virginia Commonwealth University Health System; and Memphis, Tenn.-based Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

The health systems have reduced their use of such lawsuits. However, the growth of medical debt lawsuits has prompted concern among public officials and proposals in some states, the Times reported.  

The newspaper specifically cited efforts in Connecticut and New York. 

In Connecticut, consumer advocates and a state judge are pushing toward state reforms to make it easier for patients to navigate the court system when they are sued over medical debt, according to the Times. This includes making it easier for patients to request itemized medical bills.

In New York, lawmakers have proposed legislation to address the issue. The legislation would decrease the limit on interest hospitals can recoup on medical debt, from 9 percent to 3 percent, according to the Times. The statute of limitations on medical debt would also be reduced from six years to two years under the legislation.

Access the full Times report here



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