Mecklenburg County attempting to collect millions in unpaid medical debt

Most people already know a visit to the hospital will probably be pricey, but if you ever have to be taken there by Medic, it’s a separate bill that can be unexpectedly high.

"They won't know, by the way, you're going to get a bill for $4,000 for this, so that happens all the time," said Tiffany Jackson with Jaxx Consulting, which offers credit counseling and repair services. 

Jackson has seen those bills for herself and says ambulance bills are part of a larger issue of medical debt, something she sees a lot of.

"I would say that about 80 to 85 percent have medical debt on their credit report and they don't even know it's there," Jackson said.

Mecklenburg County says there are so many Medic bills unpaid that it's simply gotten to a point where they have to get the money back, around $28 million.

Starting October 1 the county will be going after that money using advanced collection methods, like collection agencies and garnishing wages for bills more than 120 days past due. If you're one of them and you don't pay, it could affect your credit.

Jackson says it's important to get out in front of it now and know your options.

"They don't typically tell you what all those options are, so you're left wondering how you're going to do it.  There's always a chance to set up payments...just address, don't ignore it, and you should be okay," Jackson said.

FOX 46 reached out to Mecklenburg County Commissioner Pat Cotham, who says those on fixed or low incomes likely won't see any of this. The collections are meant to target those who have the ability to pay, but haven't.