Why some eastern Idahoans are being served, arrested and sometimes jailed over medical debt

IDAHO FALLS — Even though it’s been more than 10 years, Mari Krueger is still furious about what happened a few days after her husband, Steven, had back surgery.

“We had a knock on the door from sheriff deputies,” Krueger said. “They were there to take Steven to the courthouse. They said he’d been ordered by MRS to come in and show up at the courthouse. And that was basically all they said.”

MRS is Medical Recovery Services, an Idaho Falls debt collection company. The company files several thousand lawsuits each year seeking to collect on medical debt in Idaho. In hundreds of these cases, they attach attorney fees, which double or triple the amount of the original debt. Additionally, while the numbers are much smaller, sheriff’s office records show MRS is responsible for requesting a majority of civil arrests in eastern Idaho.

Mari admitted that when the arrest occurred in 2006, they were behind on a lot of medical bills. Both she and her husband had dealt with serious illnesses in the past, and bills had become a significant financial problem. But Mari says she was always on the phone with collection agencies trying to let them know what was going on.

That’s why the couple was stunned when deputies arrived on their doorstep with a civil warrant (also known as a writ of body attachment) from a judge to arrest Steven and bring him to the courthouse immediately. At the time, Steven was recovering from back surgery and his doctor ordered him not to travel, according to Mari.

VIAEast Idaho News
SOURCEEast Idaho News
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