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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 33147
Experience:  Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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While unemployed, I broke my elbow. It was a clean break and

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While unemployed, I broke my elbow. It was a clean break and the doctor recommended by the hospital suggested that I have a plate put in my elbow instead of getting a cast. He indicated it would be a same day surgery that would only take an hour. When I called the hospital, they said that they could not give me an idea how much it would cost. The final bill was over $45,000. I have been paying ever since. I was told that after five years, they could no longer continue to bill me. At five years, I received a call from a collection agency who said they bought my debt. I am still paying for a broken bone that could have been resolved with a cast. I am living on social security. Can the hospital sell my debt to a collection agency? Am I responsible to pay for the rest of my life?

Dwayne B. :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

Dwayne B. :

Unfortunately, they can continue to bill you forever.

Dwayne B. :

The statute of limitations in PA is 4 years but that is from the last payment you make. They can't successfully sue you after that date but they can continue billing you and they can leave it on your credit report for seven years.

Dwayne B. :

You also asked "Can the hospital sell my debt to a collection agency?"

Dwayne B. :

The answer to that is absolutely yes. Medical debts are sold all the time.

Customer:

Does that mean that after seven years, It will no longer be on my credit report.

Dwayne B. :

Yes, it should go away after 7 years. However, there is some disagreement as to when the seven years starts. I think the courts are eventually going to rule that it is seven years from the last payment.

Customer:

Can this debt be passed to my heirs?

Dwayne B. :

No, your heirs won't owe it.

Dwayne B. :

You can also erase it through bankruptcy.

Customer:

If I retire to a different country, will the debt follow me?

Dwayne B. :

It depends on the country but most of them don't use the same procedures we do here so I think it is likely it wouldn't.

Customer:

What do you mean by the same procedure? I am thinking of moving to Panama.

Dwayne B. :

They don't use the credit reporting agencies the same way we do.

Dwayne B. :

Plus their time limits are different.

Dwayne B. :

Each country varies and I'm not sure how it works in Panama.

Customer:

Thank you for your help.

Dwayne B. :

You're very welcome. Anything else I can answer before I exit to assist others?

Customer:

No

Dwayne B. :

Best wishes to you on this and please don't forget to leave a Positive Rating (of course I’d suggest Excellent!) so I get credit for my work. The website only gives credit to the expert if you give a Positive Rating.

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