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Medical Debt Statute of Limitations by State

George Simons | December 11, 2023

Summary: The statute of limitations on medical debt is different in every state, but it's usually around six years. Use SoloSuit to respond to a debt collection lawsuit and tell the court that your debt's statute of limitations has expired.

The statute of limitations for a creditor to lawfully collect a debt varies from state to state. Medical debt is no different, and each state has a statute of limitations on medical debt too. This sets a time limit in which collectors can legally take someone to court over unpaid medical bills.

If the statute of limitations on your unpaid debt has passed, you should understand that the debt is still owed even if you can't be sued for it. Another common misconception about statutes of limitations is that once this date has passed, the medical debt can no longer appear on your credit report. This is simply false. How long any item appears on your credit report has nothing to do with the statute of limitations for that particular debt.

If you're being sued for a medical debt, draft your response in minutes with SoloSuit.

Even if the statute of limitations on medical debt has passed, the creditor can attempt to sue you. Oftentimes, this is done because some consumers don't know about their rights. If a medical debt creditor files suit after the statute has expired, they may be attempting to scare the consumer into paying the debt. If the consumer was unaware of the statute of limitations in their particular state, they might be frightened enough to start making payments.

Use our Statute of Limitations Calculator to find your limit

Lots of people wonder what the limit is on their medical debt, so we built out Statute of Limitations Calculator to make it easy to find when the statute of limitations expires on your debt. Again, once it is expired, a collector can't sue you for it and you can bring it up as a defense if they do. Just answer the questions below and calculate your limit.

Statute of Limitations Calculator

Select your state.

Choose the debt type.

Select the last day you made a payment.


The Satute of Limitations

This calculator is for educational purposes only.

In all states, the statute of limitation differentiates between oral and written contracts. Medical debt is considered a written contract. The following table gives you the specific statute of limitations on unpaid medical bills or the medical debt expiration by state:

Here's a table of Satutes of Limitations on medical debt


Medical Debt Statute of Limitations by State

State

Medical debt expiration timeline

Alabama

6 years

Alaska

6 years

Arizona

5 years

Arkansas

6 years

California

4 years

Colorado

6 years

Connecticut

6 years

Delaware

3 years

Florida

5 years

Georgia

6 years

Hawaii

6 years

Idaho

5 years

Illinois

10 years

Indiana

10 years

Iowa

10 years

Kansas

5 years

Kentucky

10 years

Louisiana

10 years

Maine

6 years

Maryland

3 years

Massachusetts

6 years

Michigan

6 years

Minnesota

6 years

Mississippi

3 years

Missouri

10 years

Montana

8 years

Nebraska

5 years

Nevada

6 years

New Hampshire

3 years

New Jersey

6 years

New Mexico

6 years

New York

6 years

North Carolina

3 years

North Dakota

6 years

Ohio

6 years

Oklahoma

5 years

Oregon

6 years

Pennsylvania

4 years

Rhode Island

10 years

South Carolina

3 years

South Dakota

6 years

Tennessee

6 years

Texas

4 years

Utah

6 years

Vermont

6 years

Virginia

5 years

Virginia

5 years

Washington

6 years

West Virginia

10 years

Wisconsin

6 years

Wyoming

10 years



Now, let's look at an example.

Example: Cate slipped on an icy sidewalk and tore ligaments in her knee in Dallas, Texas. Cate needed surgery to repair the damage and allow her knee to heal properly. That statute of limitations for billing patients in Texas is four years. Cate was unable to pay and defaulted on the debt. Cate was contacted repeatedly by debt collectors over the four years. After four years, a debt collection company threatened to file a lawsuit. After doing some research, Cate ignored the threat because she knew that the statute of limitations had expired and she was not in danger of being sued. When the debt collection company took her to court, Cate used SoloSuit to draft and file her Answer. In her Answer, she included the affirmative defense that the statute of limitations had expired, and the court dismissed her case.


What you need to know about the statute of limitations

Now that you have this handy dandy reference guide detailing the time a creditor can legally take action on medical debt, there are a few other things you should be aware of regarding the statute of limitations.

It's one thing to know that in your state, the creditor has six years to legally take action on your medical debt. It is another thing to know exactly when the clock starts. Every communication and/or payment made by the consumer to the creditor regarding the specific medical debt in question restarts the clock on the statute of limitations.

If you were unable to make a payment and were avoiding all communication attempts made by the creditor, you must know that if you were to accept a call and acknowledge the debt to the debt collector or respond to a letter from the creditor stating that you owe the debt, the clock restarts in most states. The same situation applies if you were to make a payment on the debt.

If you didn't make the last payment and have not communicated in any way with the creditor, the clock begins from the date you missed the last payment. Depending on the amount of debt, keep in mind that the creditor can take legal action against you for the medical debt during the period within the statute of limitations.

The FDCPA can protect you

As a consumer, you have rights under The Fair Debt Collection and Practices Act (FDCPA) that protect you against unlawful medical debt collection practices. The FDCPA governs the actions collection agencies and law firms can take in attempting to collect a debt. There are some sketchy agencies or law firms that may break these laws in their attempt to collect the debt.

Here are some example of ways debt collectors violate the FDCPA:

  • Calling to discuss a debt before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
  • Calling your family members, workmates, or friends and asking about your debt.
  • Refusing to respond to your Debt Validation Letter.
  • Using threatening, vulgar, or derogatory language to get you to pay a debt.
  • Lying that they will confiscate your driving license or other documents if you do not pay.
  • Pretending to be a police officer or judge.
  • Attempting to collect a debt that they know doesn't belong to you.
  • Suing you for a debt that has passed the statute of limitations.

It is important for all consumers to arm themselves with the knowledge and understanding of these basic consumer rights. Knowing the statute of limitations on medical debt bills is a step in this direction.

If a debt collection agency or law firm has violated these laws, report them to The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) online platform, submit a complaint in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and post a review on the collection agency's Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. These platforms will follow up on the complaint and take legal action against the agency.

Below is another example.

Example: Casey lived in Georgia and had a medical debt of $1800 that was over six years old. He totally forgot about the debt until he received multiple calls a day from Nationwide Collection Agency asking him to pay the debt or they would take legal action. He ignored their attempts to collect until he received a lawsuit letter from them. Casey knew the debt had exceeded the statute of limitations on unpaid medical bills and responded confidently with SoloSuit's Answer. In the Answer document, he entered an affirmative defense stating that the debt had passed the expiration date according to Georgia's laws. Nationwide Collection Agency dismissed the case and did not attempt to sue him again.


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Creditors view medical debt differently

Your consumer rights extend to your credit reports, meaning that creditors should be careful about the debt they include in your credit report and when they add it. In the past, medical debts were viewed to have the same importance as a mortgage or car loan. Over the last few years, Credit Bureaus have taken the position that consumers incur medical debt not of their choice but out of their control. As a result, medical debt carries less weight than traditional credit extended to consumers.

For instance, on March 22, 2022, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion announced changes in reporting medical debt that will erase 70% of these debts on consumers' credit reports. These changes, which took effect in July of 2022, include:

  • The period before entering a medical debt on your credit report is now one year, up from six months.
  • A paid medical debt will no longer be added to your credit report.
  • The three credit bureaus will not include medical debt under $500 on your credit report in the first half of 2023.

Even if your debt is past the statute of limitations, and the creditor is barred from taking any legal actions, the debt is still owed. It is more than likely the creditor will continue all collection efforts, but luckily, they cannot sue you for the debt.

To accurately find out what the exact status of your medical debt is regarding your specific state's statute of limitations on medical bills can be difficult at times. However, there are several ways for you to find this information:

  • Contact your state's attorney general office. They can provide you with information pertinent to your specific state.
  • Contact a local legal aid office, but know that their resources are limited.
  • Hire an attorney to assist you with this matter. Lawyers can prove to be very costly, so beware.
  • Use SoloSuit to represent yourself in a lawsuit and learn more about debt collection practices and laws.

What is SoloSuit?

SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.

You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.

SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.

Respond with SoloSuit

"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James


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How SoloSuit can help with medical debt collection

SoloSuit software can help you draft professional legal documents that will allow you to respond to creditors. You do not need to hire an attorney to respond to debt collectors. SoloSuit's documents have factored in all legal requirements in the documents.

Over 7,600 consumers have successfully dealt with creditors using the following documents:

  • Debt Validation Letter: this document enables you to respond to medical debt collectors after they call or send an email.
  • An Answer: This document should be sent 14–30 days after receiving a lawsuit letter.
  • Motion to Compel Arbitration: Using this document allows you to request the creditor to settle the medical debt out of court—if the contract included an arbitration clause.
  • SoloSettle: This tool helps you to quickly settle debt by requesting a settlement deal.

Choose the document that best suits your current medical debt needs and use it to handle medical debt collectors. To learn more about how to respond to a medical debt lawsuit, check out this video:

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