The Idaho Collectors Association advocated with key lawmakers on the impact of the new requirements before the bill was passed.
New requirements for medical debt collectors will take effect Jan. 1, 2021 under the Idaho Patient Act (HB 515).
The Idaho Patient Act was the subject of an ongoing grassroots campaign by the Idaho Collectors Association to educate key lawmakers about the potential impact of the requirements.
The law includes requirements on timing to submit a bill to a patient’s insurance company as well as interest rates and a cap on attorneys’ fees.
It applies to extraordinary collection actions in connection with a patient’s debt, including, according to the law, prior to 60 days from the patient’s receipt of the final statement, selling, transferring, or assigning any amount of a patient’s debt to any third party, or otherwise authorizing any third party to collect the debt in a name other than the name of the health care provider.
Extraordinary collection actions under the law also include reporting adverse information about the patient to a consumer reporting agency or commencing any judicial or legal action or filing or recording any document in relation to: placing a lien on a person’s property or assets; attaching or seizing a person’s bank account or any other personal property; initiating a civil action against any person; or garnishing an individual’s wages.
The intent of the law is to govern the fair collection of debts owed to health care providers and increase visibility to Idaho citizens about medical billing practices and debts they may be unaware of.
The law also prohibits any individual from engaging, directly or indirectly, in any extraordinary collection action against a patient unless:
- Within 45 days from the date of providing goods or services to the patient or from the date of discharge of the patient from a health care facility, whichever is later; a health care provider submits its charges related to the provision of goods or services to the third-party payor or payors of the patient, identified by the patient to the health care provider in connection with the services, if any, or, in the event no third-party payor was identified, to the patient;
- Within 60 days from the date of the provision of goods or services to the patient or from the date of discharge, whichever is later, the patient receives from the health care facility that the patient visited, a consolidated summary of services, free of charge, unless the health care facility is exempted from providing a consolidated summary of services;
- The patient receives, free of charge, a final statement from the billing entity of the health care provider;
- The health care provider does not charge or cause to accrue any interest, fees, or other ancillary charges until at least 60 days have passed from the date of receipt of the final statement; and
- At least 90 days have passed from receipt of the final statement by the patient and final resolution of all internal reviews, good faith disputes, and appeals of any charges or third-party payor obligations or payments.
Overall, under the Idaho Patient Act, health care providers and their third-party partners are required to adhere to deadlines for sending a bill to collections and to provide transparency in services being billed to patients on new timelines.
ACA International members can find more information on health care collections in the ACA SearchPoint library using the tag health care.