More help may be on the way for those suffering under staggering medical bills that have been turned over to debt collectors
Melaleuca C-E-O Frank VanderSloot Monday evening rolled out a plan for legislation to help those he feels are being treated unfairly by unscrupulous collection agencies and attorneys.
VanderSloot explained his ideas to about 50 legislators. They were visiting Melaleuca as part of their chamber of commerce legislative tour.
VanderSloot told them he became concerned about medical debt collectors after learning they tried to collect over $6,000 in legal fees over a $294 medical expense of one of his employees. After hearing hundreds of similar stories he and his wife have donated a million dollars to help defend them.
VandersSoot explained a three point proposal for legislation to address the problems.
To make the myriad of medical bills less complicated, within 30 days healthcare providers would be required to provide notice of services to the patient and facility where they were provided.
Within 60 days that facility would then have to provide one consolidated notice of all services provided there to the patient.
There would be reasonable limits on attorney fees.
VanderSloot said doctors and hospitals he has spoken with like the idea, but he says there will be some opposition.
“I think some of the attorneys and collection agencies are going to be opposed to this because they’re making millions of dollars running up these attorney fees,” VanderSloot said.
Legislators we spoke with said they appreciate the VanderSloots efforts to help those in a bad situation.
“They’re trying to provide that level playing field, and I think the legislators will be somewhat receptive to that,” Republican Senator Brent Hill said.
“It gives proper notice to people what they need to be looking for what their bills may be. That’s an incredibly good proposal.” Caldwell Senator Jim Rice said.
VanderSloot says they plan to have a draft of proposed legislation in time for the upcoming session.