Hospitals in North Carolina brought nearly 6,000 unpaid medical debt lawsuits totaling $57.3 million against patients and families between January 2017 and June 2022, according to a Duke University report. The study shows HCA-owned Mission Health was one of the five worst offenders.
HCA charged a widower interest of more than $11,000 on an $83,000 bill for his deceased wife’s cancer treatment. Despite being insured and having a repayment agreement, “the hospital system secured a judgment and seized nearly $92,000 from the sale of the family’s home” according to one example detailed by the North Carolina Treasurer’s Office in conjunction with the report.
To combat similar shocking medical billing practices in the state, the North Carolina Senate unanimously passed the Medical Debt De-Weaponization Act in May. The bill aims to reduce burdensome medical debt and protect North Carolina patients in their dealings with medical creditors, medical debt buyers, and medical debt collectors. The bill is now pending in the North Carolina House rules committee.