Minnesota Hospital Fair Collection Practices

The Minnesota Attorney General and virtually all Minnesota hospitals have entered into an agreement relating to the hospitals’ billing and collection practices.  These legally enforceable agreements require collection agencies and collection attorneys to go above and beyond to assist patients in getting bills paid and treating consumers fairly.  Each agreement is conveniently linked below.  The following are some of the key provisions in each of these agreements.

  • The hospital cannot collect debt from the patient unless the applicable insurance company has been billed and given the opportunity to pay the claim, and there is a reasonable basis to believe the patient owes the bill.
  • The hospital must offer a reasonable payment plan to patients who are unable to pay the full amount in one payment. The hospital may not refer a debt to a collection agency if the patient makes payments in accordance with the terms of a payment plan agreed to by the hospital.
  • A patient must be given a reasonable opportunity to submit an application for financial assistance from the hospital.
  • A hospital’s collection agency must forward all patients who object to the collection activity to the hospital. In other words, you have the right to speak with the hospital directly regarding your medical debt.
  • The collection agency must cease collection activity, pending further review, if the patient states that: (1) he or she does not owe the bill; (2) the insurance company is obligated to pay the bill; or (3) the patient needs further documentation of the bill.
  • For patients without insurance coverage, a hospital may not charge an uninsured patient more than the hospital would be reimbursed by its largest insurer for those with health insurance. In other words, an uninsured patient cannot be charged more than an insured patient.

Source: Minnesota Attorney General’s Website

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All Minnesota Hospital Agreements

 

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