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Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

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Established Contributor

Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

I owe a couple thousand dollars towards my kid’s surgery. The insurance paid most of it but I still owe. I have been faithfully paying according to the payment arrangement I made with the hospital. Today I received a letter from the hospital saying they have contracted with Western Alliance Bank to continue to collect my payments. It says they are not a debt collection agency. The hospital’s letter encourages me to sign up for ClearBalance offered by Western Alliance. I googled it and it says it’s a program that loans me what I owe and pays the hospital. I then make monthly payments. I see where they don’t report to credit agencies but I don’t see information about interest rate. I wonder if they charge interest.  https://www.myclearbalance.com/About/Faq

In the garden as of March 17, 2017.

Amex PRG NPSL | Amex Hilton Surpass $6K l Aviator Red $3.5K | Best Buy $6K | Amazon $6K | Chase $5K | BBVA $6K | UFCU $10K | NFCU $15K
Message 1 of 13
12 REPLIES 12
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Regular Contributor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

I used them to pay for surgery as well.  The process was seamless; basically you give them your checking account information and agree to the terms (in my case, it was 18 months no interest and they draft the payment via ACH from your checking account on a date you set).  It's not a loan - therefore they don't pull credit and you are correct in that they do not report to CRA.  I had a perfect experience with them and would use them again if needed in the future.

Message 2 of 13
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Established Contributor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

Thanks for the information. If I sign up I do not plan to bounce a payment. In fact, I can allow them to draft from my NFCU account which is covered by my CLOC. However I’m curious to know what happens if a payment draft bounces.

In the garden as of March 17, 2017.

Amex PRG NPSL | Amex Hilton Surpass $6K l Aviator Red $3.5K | Best Buy $6K | Amazon $6K | Chase $5K | BBVA $6K | UFCU $10K | NFCU $15K
Message 3 of 13
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Established Contributor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

Ok just got a letter from Clear Balnce that has an account number and balance. I didn’t know I had an account with them since I didn’t sign up. I signed into my hospital billing account on the hospital’s site and the balance is magically zero. I called the hospital billing department and they informed me that my balance has been transferred to Clear Balance and going forward I must pay Clear Balance. I say “I don’t want an account with them’. They say “you have no choice”. I ask them if Clear Balance does not charge interest how do they make money.? The reply: “we pay the interest for the patient”.

 

So it looks like I’m stuck with them. 

In the garden as of March 17, 2017.

Amex PRG NPSL | Amex Hilton Surpass $6K l Aviator Red $3.5K | Best Buy $6K | Amazon $6K | Chase $5K | BBVA $6K | UFCU $10K | NFCU $15K
Message 4 of 13
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Regular Contributor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

In other words the hospital sells them your account for pennies on the dollar and you pay this (so-called?) "bank" the full balance.  I would advise anyone with these types of bills to negotiate a deal directly with the provider at "pennies on the dollar" before they sell your account to someone else who expects the account to be PIF.  I know nothing about this "bank" but they smell an awful lot like a CA to me.  I'd try negotiating with them to lower your balance owed at the very least.  Just my 2¢.  I could be wrong, I frequently am.  Best of luck to you and if you do have any success in negotiating please bring it back to this thread for the rest of us.

Message 5 of 13
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Established Contributor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?


@AirTroop wrote:

In other words the hospital sells them your account for pennies on the dollar and you pay this (so-called?) "bank" the full balance.  I would advise anyone with these types of bills to negotiate a deal directly with the provider at "pennies on the dollar" before they sell your account to someone else who expects the account to be PIF.  I know nothing about this "bank" but they smell an awful lot like a CA to me.  I'd try negotiating with them to lower your balance owed at the very least.  Just my 2¢.  I could be wrong, I frequently am.  Best of luck to you and if you do have any success in negotiating please bring it back to this thread for the rest of us.


I didn't think about that.  You are probably right.  The hospital sold this to Clear Balance for far less than what I owed.  They could not send me to a regular collection agency because I setup an agreement and was paying them as agreed.  I know for a fact they do send accounts to a collection agency if the patient does not pay as agreed.  They couldn't do that with me. In fact when I called about my balance suddenly being zero,  the first thing the rep said was "it's gone to our debt collector Southwest".  She then looked it up and said, "No went sent it to Clear Balance, they aren't a debt collector". Wow! It makes sense now.

 

I would try and negotiate a smaller amount.  However, I don't want to deal with the IRS for the difference.

 

Clear Balance did setup a very low affordable payment.  They also said that once a year if I missed a payment I could reset the account and the missed payment gets moved to the backend.  They said they wouldn't begin to charge interest on the account for a missed payment.  This all sounds to good to be true.  Somehow they are making a boat load of money off of folks like me who are responsible fiscal managers but can't afford to pay our bill at once. SMH.

In the garden as of March 17, 2017.

Amex PRG NPSL | Amex Hilton Surpass $6K l Aviator Red $3.5K | Best Buy $6K | Amazon $6K | Chase $5K | BBVA $6K | UFCU $10K | NFCU $15K
Message 6 of 13
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Super Contributor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

Never heard of them, but went through something similar with a hospital a few years ago...

 

After insurance paid, I had a balance of nearly 2k... agreed to a payment plan and was making payments of $150ish a month... somewhere around the $1k balance line, hospital sent me a letter offering to settle for $350 if I paid it within 30 days...  called the hospital, made sure it was legit, and paid it off immediately.  Smiley Happy

04/24/20 Mortgage scores: EX2 741, EQ5 713, TU4 no idea.
05/01/20 Fico 8: EX 703, EQ 704, TU 727.
05/04/20 Fico 9: EX 697, EQ 698, TU no idea...

Zero percent financing is where the devil lives...
Sitting in the garden behaving myself. #noinqs2020
Message 7 of 13
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New Visitor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

Thank you for your question regarding interest rates charged to the consumer.  First, you are correct that ClearBalance does not report derogatory information to credit bureaus.  Second, that vast majority (over 90%) of our loans have no interest rate charged to the consumer.  And, there are no punitive rates or fees if you make a late payment.

Please let me know if you have any other questons.

Mitch

Message 8 of 13
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New Visitor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

Thank you for the question.  If you miss a payment the call center will reach out to you via phone.  If the service rep is not able to reach you via phone you will also be sent a reminder letter (it can be sent via snail mail or email dependent on your preference).  You  would then have the opportunity to make a payment on-line, over the phone, or via snail mail (again, you pick). 

Please let me know if you have additional questions.

Mitch

Message 9 of 13
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New Visitor

Re: Is anyone familiar with ClearBalance?

Hi,

First and foremost, you are never "stuck" with a ClearBalance loan.  Your hospital offers the loan program as a benefit (you can pay over time and the hospital paid the interest on your behalf).  If you prefer not to receive an interest free loan you just need to tell your ClearBalance service rep (their toll free # is on the introductory letter and your monthly statement) and your account will be closed and returned to the hospital.  At that point, the hospital would collect from you directly.

If you have any other questions please let me know.

Mitch

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