I have about 5 hospital bills in collection and one more heading in the same direction. Difference is that this last one have some very overpriced charges on it like $150 for each tylenol tablet! Is ...
All states have a "statute of limitations" where debts can not be legally collected after a certain amount of time. Each state is differant, but they average around 4-6 years for credit card debts, a bit longer for written contract.
Therefore, there is a very good chance that your debt of 12 years can not be collected. Spiffman's answer is very deceptive (because he's probably in the collection field). True, you still owe the debt, but the creditor has no way to sue you or post this to your credit report. And by sending them a "cease and desist" letter, you can prevent them from calling or writing to you too!
In other words...they can bark but they can't bite. Relax, you are safe.
you can have that removed easily. It is usually removed after 7 years. But, if you make any contact with the company it will be considered "activity" and the 7 years will start over. Go to each of the credit bureaus and request that it be removed. You will have to request a copy of your free report first which they are required to give you once each year.. Then follow the instructions they give on how to make a request for deleting an old account.
It should have been written off by now, but you still owe it.