Please help me out of a financial panic
April 11, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

What should I do about a debt collection agency notifying me of a bill that I shouldn't have?

Just over two years ago I lived in BC for two years. When I lived there, I had the pay-in BC provincial health insurance (MSP). When I moved from BC to Alberta, I cancelled the plan, and heard no more about it--until today.

I just opened a letter from a bill collector claiming that I owe them over $1200 for unpaid MSP bills. I can't find any evidence that I cancelled the insurance, but I am a student and already in a bad financial situation - I definitely don't have anything like an extra $1200! Does anyone have any advice about what I do now? Thanks in advance to more level heads than mine.
posted by Bergamot to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the US, you can request, in writing, that all further correspondance be in writing, and you can also request that they show proof of the debt. You do not, in any event, want to say anything about the debt being yours (unless you're confident it is and you want to make their day easier). Again, this is for the US, but perhaps it's a reasonable starting point for Canada as well.
posted by zippy at 3:35 PM on April 11, 2011

Your first step should be to call MSP and talk to someone there to make sure the plan was canceled. Tell them you canceled it when you moved away. If they don't have that in their records, tell them you are certain you did and ask them to back date the cancellation because you did not use it in the past two years. Then ask them to recall the debt from the bill collector. Your next steps will depend on how all of that goes.
posted by soelo at 3:36 PM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

I would suggest the MyFico Forums. There are examples and a wealth advice of what do to do in this situation including "proof of debt" letter samples.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:31 PM on April 11, 2011

Also, Alberta Health Services would be able to show when you came under the Alberta plan, which would further show that you weren't using the BC insurance, since you cannot be under two plans at once. If you need something to show MSP, try calling an Alberta Service Bureau to see if they can pull your record.
posted by Kurichina at 10:46 AM on April 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers, everyone! I called MSP rather than the collection agency, and they were surprisingly helpful and easy to talk to. I will not be paying for health care charges that accrued after I left the province - this may have been made easier by the fact that I have been registered for Alberta health care for the time that I have been living here. Thanks again for the helpful and calming advice!
posted by Bergamot at 4:04 PM on April 21, 2011

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