Medical debt is a significant problem in the United States. According to the CDC, 18.6% of adults aged 18-64 years old had trouble paying medical bills in 2018. Colorado is no exception to this issue, and its residents are facing medical debt at alarming rates. Medical debts can be challenging to handle, and sometimes, it may even get to the point where it is impossible to pay them off. However, Colorado has laws in place to protect its residents from being harassed by medical debt collectors.
Colorado Medical Debt Collection Laws:
The various laws that protect Colorado residents from medical debt collection harassment include the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Colorado Medical Debt Transparency Act.
1. The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA):
The Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a law that states how, when, and why debt collectors may contact consumers. This act prohibits debt collectors from using deceptive, harassing, or abusive tactics to collect a debt. The CFDCPA defines a debt collector as anyone who collects a debt for another person or entity.
Under this act, debt collectors are prohibited from:
• Contacting consumers at inconvenient places or times, such as early morning or late night;
• Harassing, intimidating, or abusing consumers;
• Threatening to sue or arrest a consumer;
• Making false or misleading statements to consumers;
• Contacting consumers at their place of employment;
• Contacting consumers after receiving written notification to cease and desist contact.
2. The Colorado Medical Debt Transparency Act (CMDTA):
The CMDTA is a law that requires hospitals and medical providers to provide patients with a comprehensive summary of the total cost of medical services before they receive treatment. This law gives patients the ability to make informed decisions about their healthcare and avoid unexpected medical bills that could lead to debt.
The CMDTA requires healthcare providers to provide:
• A comprehensive summary of medical services and their total cost before treatment;
• The names and addresses of all medical providers who treated the patient;
• The amounts paid by the patient and any third-party payers for treatment.
Additionally, under the CMDTA, healthcare providers must provide patients with an explanation of their billing and payment policies, including any discounts or financial assistance programs that may be available.
1. What can I do if a debt collector violates the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?
If a debt collector violates the CFDCPA, you can take legal action against them in court. You may be able to recover damages, including statutory damages of up to $1,000.
2. Can a debt collector sue me for medical debt?
Yes, a debt collector can sue you for medical debt. However, they must follow the rules and procedures outlined in the CFDCPA and any other applicable laws.
3. Can hospitals and medical providers garnish my wages for medical debt in Colorado?
Yes, hospitals and medical providers can garnish your wages for medical debt in Colorado. However, they must follow the rules and procedures outlined in the CFDCPA and any other applicable laws.
4. What should I do if I am struggling to pay my medical bills?
If you are struggling to pay your medical bills, you should reach out to your medical provider or hospital and inquire about any financial assistance programs they may have. You can also consider speaking with a credit counselor or seeking legal advice.
Medical debt can be a significant burden on Colorado residents. However, the state has laws in place to protect its residents from medical debt collection harassment. These laws give patients the ability to make informed decisions about their healthcare and avoid unexpected medical bills that could lead to debt. If you are struggling to pay your medical bills, it is essential to know your rights and seek assistance from your medical provider, credit counselor, or legal advisor.
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Colorado residents are facing medical debt at high rates, but the state has laws to protect them from medical debt collection harassment. Two laws in particular safeguard Colorado residents: the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (CFDCPA) and the Colorado Medical Debt Transparency Act (CMDTA). The CFDCPA states that debt collectors cannot use deceptive or abusive tactics to collect debt from consumers, while the CMDTA requires healthcare providers to give patients a comprehensive summary of medical costs to help them make informed decisions and avoid unexpected bills. If a debt collector violates the CFDCPA, legal action can be taken against them.