What is the duration an individual can be legally held responsible for a medical bill?

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What is the duration an individual can be legally held responsible for a medical bill?

I recently received a notice from a collection agency for a medical bill from 4 years ago. I am sure I paid it because I always pay all medical current at tax time. However, I don’t normally save bills for that long. I have been back and received medical treatment from the provider for 4 years and no one informed me of any past due bill. I actually just paid off a current bill to this provider.

Asked on February 10, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations (SOL) defines how long someone has to take legal action to enforce a debt. Once the SOL has expired, it is impossible to legally enforce the debt; and conversely, until the SOL has expired, someone may seek to collect on a debt.

In Indiana, it appears that the relevant SOL, a contract for collection of money, is six years. The SOLs for oral contracts and for collecting on accounts are also six years; the SOL for most written contracts is 10 years. Therefore, they would appear to have at least 6 years to take action to collect this debt, which would mean they are still in time.

Of couse, to collect, they will need to be able to prove the existence and amount of the debt.


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