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Consumer LAW PA Consumer LAW PA
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Debt Collectors Sink To A New Low, Suing The Families Of Nursing Home Residents Over Unpaid Bills


More than half of American adults owe money on medical bills, so, chances are, you have heard it all about how expensive medical bills can be and about the lengths that debt collectors go to in the name of collecting debts.  You might know people who have been sued by hospitals or doctors’ offices, subjected to humiliating debtors’ examinations in court, had their paychecks garnished, and even received threats of jail time from debt collectors.  Fortunately, Pennsylvania has more protections than other states against these abusive debt collection practices, but business to consumer lawsuits are so common that approximately one in 20 consumers has been a defendant in a lawsuit from a healthcare provider over an unpaid medical bill.  A recent report on the National Public Radio website highlights an especially abusive side of medical debt collection, namely when nursing homes seek payment from the family members of residents who are unable to pay their bills.  If you are stressed out about medical bills and threats from debt collectors, a Philadelphia debt collection abuse lawyer can help you.

The Only Thing Worse Than Getting Sued Over a Debt Is Getting Sued Over Someone Else’s Debt

In debt law, fraudulent conveyance is when you title your assets in someone else’s name so that creditors cannot seize them or garnish them.  It occurs frequently in high asset divorce cases when the wealthier spouse wants to reduce their alimony or child support obligations.  Nursing home residents are not, by any stretch of the imagination, skilled practitioners of fraudulent conveyance.

If you are sick enough to reside in a nursing home, you are, by definition, not healthy enough to work.  If you have long-term care insurance, it will cover nursing home care.  If not, nursing homes are supposed to help residents apply for Medicaid, but that is not what they always do.  The NPR report highlighted an alarming trend where nursing homes try to collect payment from any family member or friend whose contact information the resident listed on the paperwork when they entered the nursing home.  Relatives who are working are a favorite target, since nursing homes can garnish their paychecks; this means that the resident’s middle-aged son, daughter, niece, or nephew is more likely to be on the receiving end of threats and lawsuits related to the nursing home bill than the resident’s retired spouse or sibling.

The practice is as abusive, unfair, and illegal as it sounds.  If debt collectors contact you about money that a relative of yours owes for nursing home care, do not pay.  Instead, contact a consumer law attorney and fight back against debt collection abuse.

Contact Louis S. Schwartz About the Horrors of Medical Debt

A Philadelphia consumer law attorney can help you if debt collectors are bothering you not only with bills that are unfairly expensive, but also with illegal debt collection practices.  Contact Louis S. Schwartz at to set up a free, confidential consultation.


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