Bill targeting predatory medical debt collectors advances

IDAHO STATESMAN — Legislation intended to create transparency in medical bills sent to patients and to rein in predatory medical debt collectors advanced to the Idaho House on Wednesday.

The House Business Committee approved the bill 15-2 after a five-hour, emotional hearing where lawmakers shared personal stories.

The measure would require doctors and medical facilities to provide timely and clear bills for their clients. It would also limit how much attorneys can get paid in specific circumstances involving medical debt collection.

Specifically, the bill seeks to cap medical collection debt fees at $350 for people who do not contest their bills and $750 for those who do. It would also set a 45-day deadline for medical facilities to get consolidated bills to patients.

Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot, founder of wellness shopping club Melaleuca, helped initiate the legislation after a debt collection agency targeted one of his employees, tacking on legal fees that turned a $294 medical bill into a $5,500 bill. He’s also spent $1 million in legal fees defending people who he said appear to have been caught up in predatory medical billing by attorneys.

Read the full story on the Idaho Statesman