Nevada Medical Debt Bill Clears Governor’s Office

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Nevada Medical Debt Bill Clears Governor's Office

On June 2, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolaklak SB 248, which requires a collection agency to notify a consumer before taking action to collect a medical debt and prohibits certain practices related to medical debt collection.

The bill was the focus of the Nevada Collectors Association (NCA) and ACA International leadership’s advocacy at the state’s 81st legislative session and while members made progress on changes to the legislation, it will affect health care providers working together. with collection agencies and impact the process for consumers to learn they have an outstanding medical debt.

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ACA members, including ACA President G. Scott Purcell, President of Professional Credit, NCA President Tim Myers, Business Development at Clark County Collection Service LLC, and ACA Board Member Christian Lehr, President of Health Care Collections-I LLC, testified in opposition to the bill before the Nevada Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor on April 23. Their testimony included concerns about the payment process from consumers who may wish to make a voluntary payment during the proposed 60-day waiting period before collections can begin, ACA previously reported.

The Nevada Senate passed the bill on April 12 and it passed in the General Assembly on May 21.

The amendments and additions to the bill passed May 10, including those in response to concerns raised by ACA members, include:

  • Changing the definition of “medical debt” in the bill to include financing or extension of credit set up by a third party solely to purchase goods or services provided by a medical facility, health care provider, or provider of emergency medical services. Medical debt does not include an open-ended or closed-end loan by a financial institution to a borrower that may be used by the borrower, at the borrower’s discretion, for any lawful purpose, including but not limited to the purchase of goods or services provided by a medical institution, a healthcare provider or a provider of emergency medical services.
  • Written notices of medical debt must be sent by certified mail. Not less than 60 days before any action is taken to collect a medical debt, a debt collection agency will send the medical debtor a written notice by certified mail stating the name of the debt collection agency and notifying the medical debtor that he has otherwise obtained. medical debt for collection. The written notice will state the name of the medical institution, health care provider, or emergency medical service provider that provided the goods or services for which the medical debt is due; the date on which those goods or services were provided; and the principal of the medical debt.
  • Nothing prohibits a collection agency from accepting a voluntary payment from a “medical debtor” so long as the “medical debtor” initiates contact with the debt collection agency and the collection agency discloses to the “medical debtor” that a payment is not demanded or owed nor the medical debt will be reported to credit reference agencies during the notice period. Any voluntary payment by a “medical debtor” to a medical debt collection agency does not extend the applicable statute of limitations. A voluntary payment by the “medical debtor” to a collection agency is not an admission of liability and should not be construed as a waiver of any defense against the recovery of the medical debt.
  • No action by the “medical debtor” to contact the debt collection agency can be construed to allow the debt collection agency to take action to collect the medical claim before the 60-day waiting period has expired. The protections described are in favor of the “medical debtor” and cannot be waived.

“We have really good frames in the game, and I feel like this [bill] is really well-intentioned, but will hurt providers, which will reduce access and increase costs for the equipment poor and the middle class,” Purcell said during his Testimony from April. “I do not think so” [that] is what everyone is trying to achieve.”

The bill will come into effect on July 1, 2021.

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