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Avoid Financial Disaster by Paying Attention to Your Small Medical Bills

Updated: Aug 11, 2021

By Medical Bill & Claim Resolution (MBCR) | Submitted On August 05, 2012

Some of the best advice applies universally to all medical bills - small and big. This includes the necessity of line items, issues like out of network costs, facility charges, and many other parts of today's complex medical billing world. But here's another kind of tip that can help a specific type of debt situation. It's one that often affects those who get a false sense of security from owing just a little bit of money to a medical office or other business.

Stay On Your Toes One critical piece of advice to take to heart is to pay attention. Even the smallest amount of overdue debt can balloon into massive amounts of money when the collections process isn't fully understood, the accrual of interest is added to the original debt, or other factors.

"Growing Debt" Issues So, how does your small dollar medical charge become a giant drag on your finances? It usually happens when the borrower simply decides not to pay anything and lets the bill lapse into collections. When third-party collectors receive this account, they may be able to add certain types of charges. This includes additional fees for filing the debt in a legal office, as well as other fees related to documentation of the existing debt. Any costs that involve trying to shoe-horn the borrower into a local court can also show up on your credit. Then, there is the issue of 'communications costs' related to overdue bill notices, phone calls and more that may be charged.

Essentially, creditors may be allowed to "up" the original debt amounts according to how much time and effort they spend trying to reach the borrower and negotiate a solution. You may believe you only owe the original amount. Add to this the collection agency may report your tiny account to the credit bureau. This results in a negative impact to your credit rating and a lengthy dispute process to have the debt removed from your credit report.

Remember this when small dollar claims for co-pays, deductibles and other expenses come in the mail, and you could be saving yourself from additional debt and heartache. When it comes to handling various types of debt, and medical accounts in particular, staying out of the loop and waiting till the last minute is almost always a poor choice.

(Senate Bill 2149 - Medical Debt Responsibility Act 2012: A bill currently in review to exclude medical debt from consumer reports that has been in collection and has been fully paid or settled.)

MBCR understands the challenges in receiving a medical bill and successfully resolving a health insurance claim issue. Learn more at

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