March 4, 2024

Medical debt is a serious issue for many people around the country and the state of Colorado continues to report some of the highest numbers of consumer complaints on the issue.  The practices of many medical debt collectors have also been called into question by an assortment of watchdog groups.  The State Senate has also proposed a bill to extend the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  It is an important time for all Colorado residents to understand the difficulties faced by consumers in regards to medical debt collection.

Recent Findings by the CoFIRG Foundation and the Frontier Group

A recent report by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) found that Colorado had the seventh highest per capita rate of medical debt complaints in the country.  The report found that many Americans are harmed by frequent problems with medical debt collection.  They concluded that 63{ee2a2ced2e83a70af3b12a5f5f4bc88f1c095ae1846c54ee750c7ec9c020c045} of complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asserted that consumers were contacted about medical debt that “was never owed in the first place, was already paid or discharged in bankruptcy, or it was not verified as the consumer’s debt.”  They also exorbitant complaints of aggressive phone calls to family and friends that included using abusive language and threats of legal action.  Many consumers reported that their credit scores were negatively impacted by these alleged debts.  Related image

Protections of the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Since Colorado has such a high number per capita of complaints about medical debt collection, it is especially important to keep the protections provided by the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in place.  The Act recently went through the Sunset Review process, and a bill was introduced that includes many of the key recommendations from that process.  If passed, the bill would extend the Act through 2028.  One of most important parts of the bill would define what is required of a debt collection company when they purchase, sell or attempt to collect any debt in the state of Colorado.  It would also clarify that the statute of limitations for private actions is two years.  All consumers should take the time to understand their rights when it comes to debt collection since thousands of Colorado residents file complaints about debt collection attempts for invalid debts.  The basic lesson is debt collection issues can happen to anyone and you should be prepared.

How to Handle Medical Debt Collectors in Colorado

You have the right to validate any and all debts before committing to any repayment or settlement.  Any company contacting you about a medical debt in Colorado should be prepared to provide you all necessary documentation by mail.  It is your right to confirm that the debt amount is accurate and that the company contacting you has a legal right to collect that debt.  Debt collection agencies frequently purchase debt in bulk without the necessary documentation to legally collect on that debt.  They may also try to pressure you into a settlement without sending you any documentation.  

Make sure that you take the time to verify all information with an experienced attorney that fully understands medical debt collection in Colorado – so that you can develop a plan to resolve all of your debts.  It does not do you any good to pay one debt in full in fear of legal action when you are having financial difficulties and have to instead let other debt payments fall behind.  You want to create a plan that includes all debt and allows you to make reasonable monthly payments you can comfortably afford.