Bills Bills Bills
August 4, 2013 9:24 AM   Subscribe

The monthly payment on my hospital bill is due today, and I completely forgot to make a payment ahead of time. The billing office will not open until tomorrow morning. I was initially planning on calling the office first thing tomorrow, but since I have a history of nonpayment I'm afraid that even one day late is too much and that they will have sent my bill to collections. I can make a payment online today, but the online system is asking for a minimum payment that is almost 4x the amount that I usually pay. Help?

I went to the hospital in November and netted approximately $1000 in bills. I was in school and had no money, so I spent several months avoiding dealing with the issue. I finally contacted the hospital in March and made arrangements for a $25/month payment plan. At that point, the largest bill (the one I am currently paying off) was less than two weeks away from being sent to collections, and a smaller bill from the same ER visit had accidentally gone to collections because I thought I had paid it but the hospital had no record of it. Since then I have made four payments on time.

As such, I am very concerned about the consequences of late payments. I tried to pay the bill online yesterday, but for some reason the minimum payment the automated system will allow is $81. I can technically afford the higher bill since I just started working again, but my finances took a blow while I was unemployed post-graduation and I also need to make sure I have enough money to move at the end of the month. Should I suck it up and pay the higher amount today to make sure it gets in on time, or do I have enough leeway to wait until tomorrow morning?
posted by fox problems to Work & Money (6 answers total)
If you're only a day late, they won't send you to collections. That's what they do.when you haven't paid for months. Just call tomorrow and talk to someone. It'll be fine.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:27 AM on August 4, 2013 [8 favorites]

Most businesses don't count Saturdays and Sundays. Generally, if the due-date happens to fall on a weekend, they give you until Monday. You should be able to walk the payment in tomorrow with no problems.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:35 AM on August 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

I am not clear on what your income is, but if it is low enough you could qualify for the hospital's in-house patient assistance program. They never tell you they have these programs. You have to ask. It might be too late since you have made payment arrangements with them already but it wouldn't hurt to ask on Monday.
posted by cairnoflore at 9:37 AM on August 4, 2013

If you've made a payment plan with them, they're not going to send you to collections for a payment being one day late. Even if they were, when would they do it? Tomorrow, because there's nobody in the office today. So you can catch them either way.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:02 AM on August 4, 2013

You're only going to be one day late and you've consistently been making payments for four months. They won't send you to collections for being one day late. Just call them first thing Monday morning and pay the bill.
posted by cooker girl at 10:20 AM on August 4, 2013

There is no way they are going to send you to collections first thing in the morning. They do not want to send you to collections because if they do it will 1) cost them money directly, as they must pay the collection company for their services and 2) net them less money in the long run, because the collections company will keep a (large) percentage of whatever you do end up paying. I know, I used to have to send clients to collections, and I always hated to do it. Call them in e morning and you will be doing them a favor.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:42 AM on August 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

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