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How do I best deal with this without affecting my credit?
August 8, 2010 11:36 AM   Subscribe

I just received a statement from a medical facility stating I owe them a couple hundred bucks plus $100+ in interest. Date of service is supposedly 10/06. I am in California. This is the first bill I have received, and I have lived at this address for over 4 years.

My previous question was a success! YAY!
But I now live in California and the creditor is a medical facility. It confuses me, because they have always had my address on file. That's how they found me for this "Account Balance Notification".

What is different, is that they have not reported derogatory info. to the Big 3 yet.

I know the statute of limitations, as I understand, is 4 years. Date of Service according to this form from a "collection service" is 10/18/2006. (I think this may be the "in-house" collections for this large hospital system)

Do I call the hospital and try to pay it, (minus the 30% interest) if they can prove it's mine? (bill without interest is only high $200, but interest is a little over $100!) If I go this route, do I want it in writing that they won't report? How do I make sure they wipe the interest off of a bill they never sent? FWIW, I had insurance at this time.

According to this "Account Balance Notification" they say if I pay they will not submit a negative to the credit reporting agencies. But I know from my previous question, not to trust.

How do you suggest I proceed? Call the hospital, the "collection agency" for this large systems of hospitals, or .. Of course, they want me to pay "the agency".

Sadly, ArtofCredit website doesn't seem to be "up" any more.

Recap--I have my credit reports, no derog. on them. I have not called the medical facility or "collection" company.

What to do?
posted by 6:1 to Work & Money (5 answers total)
 
The first thing to do is establish if it's a valid bill. Call the hospital and get all the details you can, then call your insurance company and see if there was a claim for that date of service and ask for a copy of the explanation of services (if you don't already have it on file at home). It could be a mistake.
posted by fshgrl at 11:48 AM on August 8, 2010


Def find out first if it's a mistake.

Then... I had something similar happen to me. Received a bill one day for $1400 for some routine lab work that insurance has always covered - but the bill was for tests completed 5 years ago!

Spoke with Doc's office, spoke with insurance company... one side said they could never collect on it, while the other said the claim was never submitted. They only thing they could agree on was that I should be the one to pay it.

Simply put - I refused.

Two years later I haven't heard from either the doc nor the insurance company... and there's nothing on my credit report about it.
posted by matty at 12:10 PM on August 8, 2010


They could have had a wrong address for you on file - that happened with me. I finally got contacted by a collection agency almost 3/4 of a year after the service was completed. I called the hospital, they realized they'd been sending stuff to a wrong address, and waived the interest they'd charged me since they understood that I had never actually gotten a bill in the first place.

So if it's a legitimate service you received, and you've called the insurance and they've paid their part already, then call the hospital billing department or ombudsman and ask why this is the first bill you've received. It seems more than reasonable that you should not be liable for interest due to their lack of contact. You might want to make an appointment and go in person.

Also consider whether it might be a scam (are you SURE it's really from the hospital?) which seems possible since it has not been reported to your credit score.
posted by GardenGal at 7:11 PM on August 8, 2010


I just received an E.O.B. statement from my insurer for an ER visit a year and a half ago. When I called the insurer, they said that they still hadn't received a bill from the hospital itself, only from the doctor. I still haven't seen any actual medical bills from the incident. So for whatever reason, it seems that hospital systems are sometimes really really slow about trying to get paid. I should think that if it is their first billing to you, that the interest charges should be waived. Their fault and all.
posted by yesster at 5:56 AM on August 9, 2010


So I finally had a chance to call the facility, to be told "oh, you're one of the ones that received this notice in error. You should be receiving a letter explaining what happened within the week".

Thanks for all the answers!
posted by 6:1 at 9:20 AM on August 13, 2010


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