Jar of IOUs The opinion does little to make an impact on the overall causes of medical debt, but it does provide some relief for consumers who find themselves in a very stressful situation. (Photo: Shutterstock)

It’s not a situation anyone wants to find themselves in: dodging calls from debt collectors for a medical bill you just couldn’t pay. Unfortunately, with the unemployment rate increasing and many Americans finding themselves without health insurance, the incidence of unpaid medical bills is expected to rise. While hospitals prepare to double down on their collection efforts, the Department of Health and Human Services recently approved an arrangement that could offer some reprieve to patients and health systems alike.

Traditionally, if a patient isn’t able to pay or work out a financing arrangement, outstanding medical debts are passed off to a collections agency. In recent years, alternative solutions to paying medical debt have become more common, from crowdfunding to charitable campaigns aimed at buying up and paying off medical debt. One such example of the latter is RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit that buys up and forgives medical debts.

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Emily Payne

Emily Payne is the current deputy editor for ALM's Business & Finance Markets and former managing editor for BenefitsPRO. A Wisconsin native, she has spent the past decade writing and editing for various athletic and fitness publications. She holds an English degree and Business certificate from the University of Wisconsin.

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