Not paying medical bills can be risky business

Even though many people have medical aid, when in an accident or facing emergency costs, tests and consultations, not to mention hospital stays, the bills can pile up over and above what your medical aid can afford. When facing a mountain of medical debt, your medical bills become something unfathomable, an expense that you have no way to pay- medical debt has become one of the leading causes of consumer bankruptcy. This is why not paying medical bills can be risky business.

In turn, giving into the pressure of the market in a sense, medical practitioners are responding to their own economic situations by becoming stricter with payments, often hiring outside companies to chase down debt. Many practitioners now will prefer to not submit to medical aid in order to ensure their own timely payment.

The medical provider may:

  • Turn your past-due account over to a debt collector

An action that can be seen on your credit record, the medical practitioner may turn your account over to a debt collector who will then chase you down for payment. While the effect on your credit score is minimal, it is never good to have people chasing you down for payment.


  • Sue for money owed

The doctor or specialist can get a court’s permission to put liens on your property, freeze your bank accounts, seize your assets and/or garnish your wages. All to ensure your debt is paid.


  • Refuse to treat your or your family until debts are paid

If you have not or will not pay your debt, the practitioner may refuse payment to you and your family members. Many, seeing your record as your family’s, will insist on upfront payment before any treatment or consultation.

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