For the majority of people in New Jersey, your auto insurance carrier is the primary payor of your medical bills after an accident. However, some people choose to have their health insurance primary. In either situation, you could end up with unpaid bills, copays, or deductibles that you need to pay. Often, this is because your benefits exhausted and you have no one else to pay the bills while your case is pending. It could also be because the procedure or treatment was denied by the insurance carrier and no one submitted an appeal.
Medical providers sometimes seem heartless to your situation when they are attempting to collect what is owed. Often, the provider resorts to a collection company that has the debt owed associated with your credit report. Previously, a collection company could have the debt listed on your credit report after 6 months. However, as of July 1, 2022, the law has changed. collection companies now need to wait 1 year before having the unpaid medical debt appear on your credit report.
The new law takes into account that medical bills can spiral very quickly for someone who is sick. The increase to one year provides individuals more time to pay off the debt before it begins to impact their credit score.
As with any debt someone claims you owe, it is important to examine what is claimed. Was it processed through the insurance carrier? Is there an explanation of benefit showing what was paid and what was not? Was there an appeal process that could have been done by the medical provider to have the insurance pay more? All of these items need to be examined when you first receive the bill. Do not wait until months have passed as this makes it harder to get anything done quickly.