TRENTON – In an effort to prevent injured employees from having their medical bills incorrectly sent to debt collection or credit reporting agencies, Assemblywoman Joann Downey (D-Monmouth) has sponsored a bill prohibiting medical providers from reporting unpaid workers’ compensation-related charges without first receiving a ruling from the Division of Workers’ Compensation.
The bill (A-1697) was released by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday. Downey released the following statement:
“Anyone who becomes ill or injured as a result of their job already has to deal with the pain and difficulty of those medical issues. Finding out their unpaid medical bills were sent to a debt collection or credit reporting agency, when they may not even be responsible for those charges in the first place, simply adds on to their stress.
“No one deserves to be badgered by collectors or have their credit score inaccurately damaged if an employer or third party is actually the one responsible for those bills. Medical providers must get clarification on the situation before pursuing more aggressive collection tactics.
“This legislation will ensure due diligence is done on behalf of everyone involved in a workers’ compensation claim by requiring medical providers to receive a formal ruling on financial liabilities before they can send those unpaid charges to an outside agency.”