Should I Pay More Money?

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I am employed as a nurse by a hospital in Iowa where my family has a bill of approximately $7000-8000. I signed up for payroll deduction planning to “chip away†at the bill. The folks at the business office were more than happy when I first signed up, & it continued smoothly for several years. $50.00 per month ($25.00 from each check, every other Friday) was deducted. I received an email from the folks at the business office on 8/05 asking that I allow more to be deducted. So I agreed to allow a total of $100.00/month to be deducted ($50 to clinic, $50 to hospital). Recently, in 12/05 a business office employee called me at home on an afternoon off & asked for me to allow more to be deducted that at $100.00/month it would take 13 years to pay, and that next it would be sent to third party collections. I replied with “no†the next day as $100.00/month seems sufficient. They replied, saying that it was not sufficient & again mentioned collections. Somewhere in the conversations they also offered an application for a patient assistance program that would lower the total bill, but I don’t believe we will qualify for it. I agreed to complete those forms, but I haven’t received them yet. I also replied giving my permission to decrease my clinic deduction to $20/month & increase hospital deduction to $80/month, keeping the total at $100/month. Their only response to that was, “We’ll be in contact upon receipt of the financial assistance forms.†So, I guess my question, somewhere in all that gibberish is, with my regular “payments†of $100/month, and with the regularity in which they are receiving my money, can they actually send it to collections or threaten to do so, or should I pay more money?

You need to review the original payment agreement you made with the hospital to identify your rights regarding payments and the possibility of being sent to collections.There may be language in the agreement that gives you the right to make minimum or reduced payments for a specified period of time. Further, there may be language that defers the possibility of your account being sent to collections so long as you make payments on time.

Generally, companies tend to send outstanding debts to a collection agency when they have not received payment within a designated time frame. You need to check the specified time frame for your situation.