Your hospital debt may be auctioned off.

Hospitals are getting more aggressive about collecting debt. First they tried sending their debts to collection agencies. Then some tried actually suing debtors. Now they are taking debt that they cannot collect and auctioning it off on the web! In this case, the collection agency offers to pay the hospital something up front, in return for which they get to keep anything they collect. This is highly likely to make them more aggressive, since they are out of pocket — and they get to keep everything they collect.

Medical debt is the single biggest reason people file bankruptcy, and if your debt is beyond your means to repay I strongly suggest that you talk to a bankruptcy lawyer.

If you think you can pay off your debt (or at least some of it), NEVER try to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency. In my experience they will not negotiate in good faith. They will give you the impression that they will go away if you give them something, but they won’t. They just keep coming back for more.

And even if they do negotiate in good faith they will not be as easy to work with as the original creditor. If you are being hounded by a debt collector for a debt (of any kind) that you want to pay off at some reduced amount, my advice is to send a “cease and desist” letter (example of cease and desist letter) to the debt collector and tell them that you will negotiate the debt with the original creditor. Then call the original creditor and tell them that while you cannot afford to pay everything, you want to work something out. They will be a lot easier to deal with.

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