Can I be sent to collections if I am still paying a balance of a medical bill?

Asked over 4 years ago - Birmingham, AL

I have a medical bill with a starting balance of $850 that have paid down to $300 with a payment arrangement of $40 per month.

I tried to get financial assistance from the hospital, but since I had insurance when I had the MRI done they denied the assistance.

A couple of months ago, I called the hospital and they offered a 80% settlement on the balance, but of course I could not accept it because I am unemployed and that meant giving them 60% of my unemployment income for the month.

I want to pay the hospital but $40 a month is a big struggle for me, but they said that if I didn't pay the $40 they will send me to collections. I really don't want that to damage my credit.

What should I do?

Additional information

Thank you all so much, I feel so blessed that they are so many kind and helpful people in this world who are willing to help a total stranger.

Good News! I did call the hospital and they agreed to lower my payment to $20 for 3 months; then the arrangement will go back to the $40 per month.


P.S. I heard the horror stories about Amsher in Birmingham, that's why I was so concerned. Thank you'll again !!!

Attorney answers (3)

  1. John Griffin Watts


    Contributor Level 14


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . The advice in the other answers is very good.

    Do be careful of local hospitals here (in Birmingham, Alabama) that will send you to collections fairly quickly. AmSher is one collection agency that is very aggressive. I have sued them frequently for illegal voicemails.

    They often use "auto dialers" or computer dialers to call and if you did not give your cell phone number to the hospital, then these calls are illegal and you may be entitled to $500 or $1500 per call. If you did give your cell phone number, you can revoke it.

    Here are a couple of guides I have written that may give you some insight if you get turned over to collections - hopefully you won't and you can put this behind you....

    Best wishes

    John Watts
    Birmingham, Alabama

  2. Alon Joseph Nager


    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . I agree with my colleague. You should call the hospital to see if they will accept a lower monthly payment. Try to get the agreement in writing if possible. They should not send you to collections as long as you are sending money each month. Good luck.

    Alon Nager
    Russack Associates, LLC
    100 Severn Ave., Ste. 101, Annapolis, MD 21403

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Danielle Jeanne Eliot

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . Usually they wont send you to collections as long as you are sending money each month. You should ask them if you can reduce the monthly amount you are paying since you are unemployed. Most medical places will negotiate with you unless it is already in the hands of a collection attorney

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