Frank VanderSloot, founder and CEO of Melaleuca, recently launched a new fund to defend people from “overly aggressive medical debt collectors.”
VanderSloot and his wife, Belinda, announced a $500,000 legal defense fund last week to help east Idahoans with medical debt who also have been slapped with “excessive attorney fees.”
“Medical rates and medical expenses continue to skyrocket, going up and up,” said VanderSloot. “I just said let’s start up this fund. I’ve got the resources and have been looking for good ways to use them to help folks.”
With a net worth estimated at $4.5 billion, VanderSloot is considered Idaho’s wealthiest individual, according to Forbes. In announcing the fund, he indicated it would defend against “tactics used by overly aggressive medical debt collectors.”
The billionaire said his interest in the medical debt issue follows the case of a Melaleuca employee with a bill of nearly $6,000 from an original medical expense of $294. The original medical bill has since been paid by the employee.
VanderSloot claims a local medical-debt collection company, Medical Recovery Services, or MRS, tried to garnish the wages of the Melaleuca employee. The matter ended with Melaleuca and the collection company locking horns in court.
“How they were behaving with us, the employer, seemed really odd,” said VanderSloot. He alleges MRS used “bullying kind of tactics” and engaged in “patterns that appear to be unethical at the least.”
MRS strongly rejects allegations that it has done anything wrong.