Most people at one time in their life have had a bill that they either couldn’t pay or were just behind on. It certainly happened to me years ago when I had to receive physical therapy for my knee. Some Illinois collection agencies are disgusting in their high pressure tactics to harass you in order to get their money and they are often illegal. Threatening jail time, calling your boss, calling at all hours, calling after you have made a request that they stop, etc. But there is one sure fire way to stop a collection attempt for payment of medical bills. Unfortunately it’s only available to certain people.
If you have been injured on the job in Illinois and have a formally filed case with the State of Illinois, it’s illegal for a medical provider or collection agency to attempt to collect unpaid bills related to the case from you as long as the case is active.
In other words, let’s say that you slip at work and hurt your back. You go to the ER and get treatment. For whatever reason, the insurance company decides to dispute your accident and says that it’s not work related. Now you have a $1,000 bill that they won’t pay and you can’t pay. If you hire an attorney and file what is called an application for adjustment of claim, once you notify the medical provider of this, they must immediately stop any and all collection efforts against you. If they don’t, they are subject to a lawsuit. As part of this, they can’t put anything on your credit report.
This only applies to injured workers because there is a real dispute as to who is responsible for the bill. Regrettably, if you don’t have a work injury this great law is not for you.
Another good law for injured workers when it comes to fighting creditors is called balanced billing. If your ER bill was $1,000 and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier paid $600, it is illegal for the hospital to come after you for the balance. If they do they are subject to a lawsuit and we know lawyers who have had great success in suing medical professionals who violate this law. And best of all, these lawyers don’t charge a fee unless they win.
So while we can’t solve every problem a debtor has, there is some good news at least for the injured workers in our State.