Woman with bill Last month, theConsumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule toframe what debt collectors are allowed to do when pursuing manytypes of overdue bills, including medical debt.

Elham Mirshafiei was at the library cramming for final examsduring her senior year at California State University-Long Beachwhen she grew nauseated and started vomiting. After the 10thepisode in an hour, a friend took her to the nearest emergency room. Diagnosis: an intestinal bugand severe dehydration. In a few hours, she was home again, withinstructions to eat a bland diet and drink plenty of fluids.

That was in 2010. But the $4,000 bill for the brief emergencydepartment visit at an out-of-network hospital has trailed her eversince. Mirshafiei, 31, has a good job now as a licensed insuranceadviser in Palo Alto, Calif. But money is still tight and herpriority is paying off her $67,000 student loan debt rather thanthat old hospital bill.

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