Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

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mikep
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Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by mikep »

We received a bill for lab tests from Feb 2020 for around $1400 this week.

This is a valid amount according to our explanation of benefits with our high deductible plan, and I noted in our HSA records that I was never billed for the service.

I am leaning towards paying this since it is valid according to our insurance explanation of benefits, but I'd also like to tell them to pound sand and keep the $1400 in my HSA invested if I can point to any laws about this. However is there a statute of limitations for how long after service you can be billed? I read something between 1-4 years and I am in California if that matters.
brian91480
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Location: Minnesota

Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by brian91480 »

Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

Look at this situation as a plus:

You got to keep the $1,400 and collect interest and investment growth for 4 years... and you get you keep those profits. 👍

--- Brian
WillRetire
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by WillRetire »

brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:08 am Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

Look at this situation as a plus:

You got to keep the $1,400 and collect interest and investment growth for 4 years... and you get you keep those profits. 👍

--- Brian
Contracts dictate what the customer is required to do. There is also the hassle factor. Ethics apply both ways: the provider should have billed in a timely manner.

OP: If you have the time & inclination, you could call your insurance company and ask how long providers have to bill them and you.
brian91480
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by brian91480 »

WillRetire wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:25 am
brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:08 am Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

Look at this situation as a plus:

You got to keep the $1,400 and collect interest and investment growth for 4 years... and you get you keep those profits. 👍

--- Brian
Contracts dictate what the customer is required to do. There is also the hassle factor. Ethics apply both ways: the provider should have billed in a timely manner.

OP: If you have the time & inclination, you could call your insurance company and ask how long providers have to bill them and you.

"Contracts dictate" --- I'll say it again:

Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

--- Brian
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by TomatoTomahto »

mikep wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 7:56 am
This is a valid amount according to our explanation of benefits with our high deductible plan, and I noted in our HSA records that I was never billed for the service.
I believe that you answered your own question.

I only had a delayed bill once in our past. A bill arrived for a consultation during our son’s birth. We did not recognize the doctor’s name and had no honest idea why he would have consulted. I sent them a letter saying that, in the hubbub of delivery we had no idea if the bill was legitimate, and since our son was entering kindergarten, we considered the bill too late to be reasonable. They agreed and went away.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
simplextableau
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by simplextableau »

brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 9:00 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:25 am
brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:08 am Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

Look at this situation as a plus:

You got to keep the $1,400 and collect interest and investment growth for 4 years... and you get you keep those profits. 👍

--- Brian
Contracts dictate what the customer is required to do. There is also the hassle factor. Ethics apply both ways: the provider should have billed in a timely manner.

OP: If you have the time & inclination, you could call your insurance company and ask how long providers have to bill them and you.

"Contracts dictate" --- I'll say it again:

Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

--- Brian
Yes, I agree, but ethics also dictate that a provider should bill in a timely manner. Before the doctor lobby jumps on here, in no other context would a professional bill submitted 4.5 years after service was rendered be paid. Nor would I dream of sending such a bill to my clients.

Whether lawyer, doctor, architect, consultant, or even plumber, roofer, landscaper, etc. You can’t sit on bills for years. This is particularly so in healthcare where the provider is setting the amount, unknown to the recipient in advance.

If the provider had a shred of ethics they would have never sent the bill out and recognized their error in having a disorganized system that resulted in them sitting on the billing for an unreasonably long time.
toddthebod
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by toddthebod »

mikep wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 7:56 am We received a bill for lab tests from Feb 2020 for around $1400 this week.

This is a valid amount according to our explanation of benefits with our high deductible plan, and I noted in our HSA records that I was never billed for the service.

I am leaning towards paying this since it is valid according to our insurance explanation of benefits, but I'd also like to tell them to pound sand and keep the $1400 in my HSA invested if I can point to any laws about this. However is there a statute of limitations for how long after service you can be billed? I read something between 1-4 years and I am in California if that matters.
The answer to your question is most likely no. "1-4 years" refers to how long they have to collect once they've sent you a bill.
bombcar
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by bombcar »

This seems to indicate they may have 4-6 years in Georgia, at least - https://consumered.georgia.gov/ask-ed/2 ... d-you-bill - and it's a dot gov domain so I think it might be somewhat legit.

Personally? I'd call and play dumb and see what they say, then pay. But maybe they offer a discount? I dunno.

And other services can wait to bill, and it sometimes happens, things fall through the cracks. https://www.findlaw.com/state/accident- ... -laws.html

February of 2020. What could possibly have happened around that time that might have discombobulated hospital/labs?

Be happy with your 21.4% discount because of inflation.
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8foot7
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by 8foot7 »

I do not consider four and a half years to be a reasonable amount of time to allow for a bill for service and I would not pay. If this were a small business I would approach this differently. But it sounds as if this is a large provider with plenty of reason and funding to have correct and timely billing. I would never send my customer an invoice four years after I provided a service.

This goes doubly for the type of markup generally applied to lab services.
shadowman
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by shadowman »

I am not a lawyer but a quick Google search indicates 48 months is the limit in California, so the original poster time of 4.5 years would exceed that unless there is some exception to the 48 month timeline that the poster has not noted.
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retiredjg
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by retiredjg »

The billing just fell through the cracks. In some other circumstance, I might question paying it, but considering what happened (especially in the medical world) in March of 2020....I'd just pay it.
shadowman
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by shadowman »

I will correct my post. The 48 months is for collections. Billing is different. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations Frequently Asked Questions on Standardized Paper Billing suggests the time for billing is much less.
AnEngineer
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by AnEngineer »

WillRetire wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:25 am OP: If you have the time & inclination, you could call your insurance company and ask how long providers have to bill them and you.
Having an EoB implies the insurance company is good with the timing, but I'd look here before laws regarding timeliness. If not timely and in network, then they already agreed not to require payment at this point (and possibly to not even send a bill).
FIRWYW
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by FIRWYW »

Physician here. I actually DONT think you are wrong to not want to pay if billed that late. I received our first bill for a procedure of about the same amount 1.5 years after the procedure. We had actually contacted them before since our EOB said we owed that amount but there was nothing in our account to pay. They said everything was paid and 1.5 years later sent the bill. We could handle the cost and paid since it is also my employer. However at 4 years the least I would do is call them up, explain they didn’t send a bill for 4 years and tell them you don’t leave that kind of money sitting around for a surprise bill 4 years later. I bet at least you can get. 50% discount if their records match that. Law aside, it is the billing departments problem they did not bill for that long (the doctor is not the one who delayed the bill that long)
WillRetire
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by WillRetire »

brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 9:00 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:25 am
brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:08 am Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

Look at this situation as a plus:

You got to keep the $1,400 and collect interest and investment growth for 4 years... and you get you keep those profits. 👍

--- Brian
Contracts dictate what the customer is required to do. There is also the hassle factor. Ethics apply both ways: the provider should have billed in a timely manner.

OP: If you have the time & inclination, you could call your insurance company and ask how long providers have to bill them and you.

"Contracts dictate" --- I'll say it again:

Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

--- Brian
And I'll say it again: ethics apply both ways.

Disabuse yourself of the notion that medical billers are a noble bunch.
Normchad
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by Normchad »

Yeah, I’m not paying that……

Medical bills are some special sort of constantly messed up…….
bombcar
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by bombcar »

Ask them if you can wait 4.5 years to pay!

(No joke I bet if you called and asked for a 0% plan to pay it off over 48 months they would say sure.)
barnaclebob
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by barnaclebob »

simplextableau wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 9:16 am but ethics also dictate that a provider should bill in a timely manner. Before the doctor lobby jumps on here, in no other context would a professional bill submitted 4.5 years after service was rendered be paid. Nor would I dream of sending such a bill to my clients.

Whether lawyer, doctor, architect, consultant, or even plumber, roofer, landscaper, etc. You can’t sit on bills for years. This is particularly so in healthcare where the provider is setting the amount, unknown to the recipient in advance.

If the provider had a shred of ethics they would have never sent the bill out and recognized their error in having a disorganized system that resulted in them sitting on the billing for an unreasonably long time.
I'm with you. For other professional services its reasonable to send a courtesy message of "hey I haven't paid you yet, are you going to send a bill" but the medical billing industry makes this impossible and I wouldn't lose sleep over them not getting the $1400. If they want people to do them favors then maybe have some price transparency and timely billing at a minimum.

I once had someone deliver $600 worth of firewood and they said they'd send me an invoice. 2 weeks later, no invoice so I texted letting them know as that had been our previous method of communication. Radio silence. Got to heat the house for free that winter.
toddthebod
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by toddthebod »

shadowman wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 9:54 am I will correct my post. The 48 months is for collections. Billing is different. The State of California Department of Industrial Relations Frequently Asked Questions on Standardized Paper Billing suggests the time for billing is much less.
The time to bill insurance or worker's comp is much less. There is no statutory limit on when you can bill the patient/consumer.
PNWpilot
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by PNWpilot »

[/quote]
Yes, I agree, but ethics also dictate that a provider should bill in a timely manner. Before the doctor lobby jumps on here, ....


BH is loaded with physicians and other healthcare professionals who love to defend their billing practices. No other industry in the world is allowed to get away with the billing shenanigans we experience in healthcare.

I'm always incredibly surprised that a forum as savvy and frugal as BH usually advocates for paying these erroneous bills.
Last edited by PNWpilot on Thu Jun 27, 2024 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
JackoC
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by JackoC »

bombcar wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 10:24 am Ask them if you can wait 4.5 years to pay!

(No joke I bet if you called and asked for a 0% plan to pay it off over 48 months they would say sure.)
Indeed, the unexplored option here is asking for a discount (or further delay like 0% interest plan) in the name of reasonableness on such a late bill. It doesn't have to be Inspector Javert telling you to pay immediately in full v telling them to 'pound sand'.

Most recent screwed up billing situation: accidental injury the ins co long insisted wasn't payable because a car accidents must go thru car insurance in our state. Based on the victim having groggily said on arrival at hospital they didn't know what hit them. Which was an e-bile per witnesses and a police officer told the hospital that within minutes. Once this fact worked its way through the insurance co bureaucracy (more than a year of letter writing by me) the hospital billed for the plan OOP limit ($7k). I planned to call and ask for 0% pmt plan after a few more months of float but missed the date when hospital sent it to a collection agency. Who then contacted me saying 'pay 50% to fully settle this'. :shock: So if you actually *ask* for a discount...
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bd7
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by bd7 »

mikep wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 7:56 am We received a bill for lab tests from Feb 2020 for around $1400 this week.

This is a valid amount according to our explanation of benefits with our high deductible plan, and I noted in our HSA records that I was never billed for the service.

I am leaning towards paying this since it is valid according to our insurance explanation of benefits, but I'd also like to tell them to pound sand and keep the $1400 in my HSA invested if I can point to any laws about this. However is there a statute of limitations for how long after service you can be billed? I read something between 1-4 years and I am in California if that matters.
Did you receive the EOB back in early 2020 or just recently? Was the lab in-network or not? On the EOB, what was the amount billed and what was the amount allowed by the insurance company? The latter would be the amount credited to your deductible, not the amount they paid which was presumably zero.

I don't want to get into the legal aspect of California statute's of limitation or medical billing laws because it would be complex and this forum prohibits actual legal advice being solicited or provided. The main thing I'd want to know is whether this is one of those lab bills for more or less normal blood work that the insurance company might typically pay less than $100 for but when they don't cover it, the lab bills you for 10X that or more. So I'd like to know exactly what the EOB says and if you are willing to divulge, what the lab tests were.
protagonist
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by protagonist »

IMHO, discussing a poster's ethics is begging to have the thread closed by moderators. The OP did not ask for ethical advice.
The OP is well aware of the ethical issues, I am sure. What OP is asking is simply whether statute of limitations applies. What OP does with that information is their decision.
Last edited by protagonist on Thu Jun 27, 2024 11:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
HomeStretch
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by HomeStretch »

If you do receive a discount and decide to pay the bill, before paying be sure to get in writing from the biller that the payment of $x is payment in full for invoice y for service z. This way you have proof the debt was satisfied as some places sell old medical uncollected debt.
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CenTexan
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by CenTexan »

My concern about not paying (or making arrangements/discount) so the matter is closed out is that the biller might "sell" the debt to a collection agency - who would be harder to shake (and might affect your credit rating).
rjbraun
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by rjbraun »

OP could contact the California insurance department to inquire. Perhaps the answer may already reside on the site (I didn't find it but only looked quickly).

https://www.insurance.ca.gov/
Onlineid3089
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by Onlineid3089 »

I wouldn't pay that without at least wasting their time by calling in several times to point out that it is ridiculously old and that I shouldn't have to pay. Be polite when you call in as that might help get them to do an administrative adjustment. Honestly, if they don't do anything I might even let it go to bad debt and pay the collection agency on first contact just out of spite so they lose 20% or whatever the collection agency keeps.

My guess to how it happened is the encounter was still at an insurance status for some reason even though it had been submitted and a remit received years ago. Someone was looking at really old AR and flipped the encounter to self pay status which auto generated the invoice.
nonnie
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by nonnie »

Here you go--I think this is the correct statute but decide for yourself since I only scanned it briefly:

Q: Is there a time limit to submit a medical bill?

A: Yes. There are different time requirements for submitting a bill (12 months, 180 days, or 30 days) depending on the type of service and other factors as set forth in the California Labor Code.

For services rendered, or inpatient discharges, on or after January 1, 2017, there is a statutory requirement that medical bills be submitted within 12 months of the date of service, or within 12 months of the date of discharge for an inpatient bill. (California Labor Code section 4603.2.)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EBilling/Sta ... bor%20Code.

https://www.dir.ca.gov/t8/ch4_5sb1a5_5_0.html
toddthebod
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by toddthebod »

nonnie wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:22 pm Here you go--I think this is the correct statute but decide for yourself since I only scanned it briefly:

Q: Is there a time limit to submit a medical bill?

A: Yes. There are different time requirements for submitting a bill (12 months, 180 days, or 30 days) depending on the type of service and other factors as set forth in the California Labor Code.

For services rendered, or inpatient discharges, on or after January 1, 2017, there is a statutory requirement that medical bills be submitted within 12 months of the date of service, or within 12 months of the date of discharge for an inpatient bill. (California Labor Code section 4603.2.)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EBilling/Sta ... bor%20Code.

https://www.dir.ca.gov/t8/ch4_5sb1a5_5_0.html
Everything you linked and posted is specifically about worker's compensation.
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yankees60
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by yankees60 »

simplextableau wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 9:16 am
brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 9:00 am
WillRetire wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:25 am
brian91480 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 8:08 am Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

Look at this situation as a plus:

You got to keep the $1,400 and collect interest and investment growth for 4 years... and you get you keep those profits. 👍

--- Brian
Contracts dictate what the customer is required to do. There is also the hassle factor. Ethics apply both ways: the provider should have billed in a timely manner.

OP: If you have the time & inclination, you could call your insurance company and ask how long providers have to bill them and you.

"Contracts dictate" --- I'll say it again:

Laws aside... Ethics dictate that you should pay for services that you receive.

--- Brian
Yes, I agree, but ethics also dictate that a provider should bill in a timely manner. Before the doctor lobby jumps on here, in no other context would a professional bill submitted 4.5 years after service was rendered be paid. Nor would I dream of sending such a bill to my clients.

Whether lawyer, doctor, architect, consultant, or even plumber, roofer, landscaper, etc. You can’t sit on bills for years. This is particularly so in healthcare where the provider is setting the amount, unknown to the recipient in advance.

If the provider had a shred of ethics they would have never sent the bill out and recognized their error in having a disorganized system that resulted in them sitting on the billing for an unreasonably long time.
I am with you all the way.
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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yankees60
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by yankees60 »

FIRWYW wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 10:11 am Physician here. I actually DONT think you are wrong to not want to pay if billed that late. I received our first bill for a procedure of about the same amount 1.5 years after the procedure. We had actually contacted them before since our EOB said we owed that amount but there was nothing in our account to pay. They said everything was paid and 1.5 years later sent the bill. We could handle the cost and paid since it is also my employer. However at 4 years the least I would do is call them up, explain they didn’t send a bill for 4 years and tell them you don’t leave that kind of money sitting around for a surprise bill 4 years later. I bet at least you can get. 50% discount if their records match that. Law aside, it is the billing departments problem they did not bill for that long (the doctor is not the one who delayed the bill that long)
Great advice!
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
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yankees60
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by yankees60 »

bombcar wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 10:24 am Ask them if you can wait 4.5 years to pay!

(No joke I bet if you called and asked for a 0% plan to pay it off over 48 months they would say sure.)
I like it!
Above provided by: Vinny, who always says: "I only regret that I have but one lap to give to my cats." AND "I'm a more-is-more person."
simplextableau
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by simplextableau »

toddthebod wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:24 pm
nonnie wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:22 pm Here you go--I think this is the correct statute but decide for yourself since I only scanned it briefly:

Q: Is there a time limit to submit a medical bill?

A: Yes. There are different time requirements for submitting a bill (12 months, 180 days, or 30 days) depending on the type of service and other factors as set forth in the California Labor Code.

For services rendered, or inpatient discharges, on or after January 1, 2017, there is a statutory requirement that medical bills be submitted within 12 months of the date of service, or within 12 months of the date of discharge for an inpatient bill. (California Labor Code section 4603.2.)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EBilling/Sta ... bor%20Code.

https://www.dir.ca.gov/t8/ch4_5sb1a5_5_0.html
Everything you linked and posted is specifically about worker's compensation.
I think it may be this, subsection (b): action on account stated, 4 years from the date of the item: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... ionNum=337.
toddthebod
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by toddthebod »

simplextableau wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:31 pm
toddthebod wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:24 pm
nonnie wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:22 pm Here you go--I think this is the correct statute but decide for yourself since I only scanned it briefly:

Q: Is there a time limit to submit a medical bill?

A: Yes. There are different time requirements for submitting a bill (12 months, 180 days, or 30 days) depending on the type of service and other factors as set forth in the California Labor Code.

For services rendered, or inpatient discharges, on or after January 1, 2017, there is a statutory requirement that medical bills be submitted within 12 months of the date of service, or within 12 months of the date of discharge for an inpatient bill. (California Labor Code section 4603.2.)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EBilling/Sta ... bor%20Code.

https://www.dir.ca.gov/t8/ch4_5sb1a5_5_0.html
Everything you linked and posted is specifically about worker's compensation.
I think it may be this, subsection (b): action on account stated, 4 years from the date of the item: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... ionNum=337.
An alternative interpretation:
https://www.moneywiselaw.com/california ... ions-debt/
The statute of limitations on debt in California is four years, as stated in the state’s Code of Civil Procedure § 337, with the clock starting to tick as soon as you miss a payment. The limitations period begins to run as soon as the cause of action accrues; that is, “from the occurrence of the last element essential to the cause of action.” (Neel v. Magana, Olney, Levy, Cathcart & Gelfand (1971) 6 Cal.3d 176, 187.)
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BrooklynInvest
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by BrooklynInvest »

I think my son was 2 before we straightened out the billing for his birth.

Granted they sent the first bill a few days after he was born. The rest of the two years was me asking them 50+ times to bill the correct amount.

Wasn't like I could return the purchase...
nonnie
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by nonnie »

simplextableau wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:31 pm
toddthebod wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:24 pm
nonnie wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:22 pm Here you go--I think this is the correct statute but decide for yourself since I only scanned it briefly:

Q: Is there a time limit to submit a medical bill?

A: Yes. There are different time requirements for submitting a bill (12 months, 180 days, or 30 days) depending on the type of service and other factors as set forth in the California Labor Code.

For services rendered, or inpatient discharges, on or after January 1, 2017, there is a statutory requirement that medical bills be submitted within 12 months of the date of service, or within 12 months of the date of discharge for an inpatient bill. (California Labor Code section 4603.2.)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EBilling/Sta ... bor%20Code.

https://www.dir.ca.gov/t8/ch4_5sb1a5_5_0.html
Everything you linked and posted is specifically about worker's compensation.
Oops, I did give a warning!
I think it may be this, subsection (b): action on account stated, 4 years from the date of the item: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... ionNum=337.
Let's try this--again quite quickly, verify for yourself.

CCP § 337 for almost all contracts: 4 years from the date of the bill. Notice the “open book” exception that extends the SOL to the last service rendered and §360 which extends it to the date of last payment. If the bill is from a state or county hospital, the law is the same, but cite CCP § 345.
For nearly all medical bills, collectors can pursue your debt for up to 4 years from the date the bill was issued. “Open book” exceptions extend the statute to the last service rendered or the date of last payment.

2020-HCA-Medical-Debt-Cheat-Sheet_FINAL
nonnie
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by nonnie »

nonnie wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 3:03 pm
simplextableau wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:31 pm
toddthebod wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:24 pm
nonnie wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 2:22 pm Here you go--I think this is the correct statute but decide for yourself since I only scanned it briefly:

Q: Is there a time limit to submit a medical bill?

A: Yes. There are different time requirements for submitting a bill (12 months, 180 days, or 30 days) depending on the type of service and other factors as set forth in the California Labor Code.

For services rendered, or inpatient discharges, on or after January 1, 2017, there is a statutory requirement that medical bills be submitted within 12 months of the date of service, or within 12 months of the date of discharge for an inpatient bill. (California Labor Code section 4603.2.)

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/EBilling/Sta ... bor%20Code.

https://www.dir.ca.gov/t8/ch4_5sb1a5_5_0.html
Everything you linked and posted is specifically about worker's compensation.
Oops, I did give a warning!
I think it may be this, subsection (b): action on account stated, 4 years from the date of the item: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/face ... ionNum=337.
Let's try this--again quite quickly, verify for yourself.

From health consumer alliance, medical debt cheat sheet

CCP § 337 for almost all contracts: 4 years from the date of the bill. Notice the “open book” exception that extends the SOL to the last service rendered and §360 which extends it to the date of last payment. If the bill is from a state or county hospital, the law is the same, but cite CCP § 345.
For nearly all medical bills, collectors can pursue your debt for up to 4 years from the date the bill was issued. “Open book” exceptions extend the statute to the last service rendered or the date of last payment.
JustGotScammed
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by JustGotScammed »

Look up the word laches: "unreasonable delay in making an assertion or claim, such as asserting a right, claiming a privilege, or making an application for redress, which may result in refusal". Seems to apply here.
SimonJester
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by SimonJester »

Uggg dealing with this issue with several medical providers right now... Its amazing how messed up medical billing is right now.

One provider has a big message on their billing portal that patient statements are on hold due to a billing system issue... Yet after logging in to their payment portal they show a balance due, just no details... No method to reach a human via any phone number...

Another provider will not bill insurance, nor provide any account statements, no invoice for several visits (but not all)... They just want my wife to put a credit card on file so they can randomly charge it (we removed the card after one such random such charge).

Next provider billed my insurance with the wrong NPI code and the office visit was deemed out of network. They are now in an argument with the insurance company on if all of their NPI codes should be in network vs out. Meanwhile my insurance company sent me a check to pay the provider. I cashed the check, paid the provider. Few weeks later the insurance company said the check was issued in error and demanded I pay them back. Now I am out the $250 and the provider has no motivation to correct the NPI error since they have been paid.
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JBTX
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by JBTX »

I would likely not pay it, unless it was clear I had a legal obligation to do so, which I doubt is the case given the time frame.

I once was billed 18 months after a medical procedure for a child. I had no idea who this was and no way to verify that this provider actually did anything in the hospital. If billed within 6 months I could have itemized the expenditure. They said that they had some number of years to legally bill it. I told them I don’t plan to pay it and they went away.

It depends on the situation. There may be other circumstances where I would pay.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I once had surgery. I received a bill 1.5 years after. I submitted to my insurance and they told me to pound sand because they won't pay any bill more than 1 year old. Anyone taking 4.5 years to send a bill is incompetent and should be put out of business.
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tonyclifton
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by tonyclifton »

You received the service. Pay the bill. It is no doubt, annoying and frustrating. However, if you don’t pay, they likely just a turn it over to a collections agency who is going to hound you and put a ding on your credit.
coachd50
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by coachd50 »

PNWpilot wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 10:44 am

I'm always incredibly surprised that a forum as savvy and frugal as BH usually advocates for paying these erroneous bills.
Lets just be clear on vocabulary, the bills may not be erroneous. The process is just inefficient. The bill may still accurately represent the amount a patient owes for services rendered. They were just rendered long ago. That doesn't make them erroneous.

That said, I would also be cautious of errors as well.
2pedals
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by 2pedals »

You are not alone.

This year I received a bill for radiology services provided over 3 years ago.

The bill said you owe about $200 and this is the "FINAL NOTICE" for something done early in 2021. I had other services provided by the same provider. They sent me bills for each one but never mentioned past due payment for the radiology services over 3 years ago. When I inquired about the bill they said they previously sent 6 bills out and it was sent to a collections agency about 3 years ago and they sent the "FINAL NOTICE" in error. :oops: We were never contacted by the collections agency and no record of debt from any of the consumer credit agencies.

I researched our records and noticed (we keep very detailed records) that we never received a bill for the portion that our insurance didn't pay. It was very annoying to receive something 3+ years later told they sent 6 bills out and it was sent to collections. I believe the provider billing department falsely made up a story that they sent us 6 bills and sent the debt to a collections agency to cover their incompetent procedures.

We did owe them the amount so rather than fighting the billing department we just paid the bill and made sure they acknowledged that the account was fully paid.
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8foot7
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by 8foot7 »

bd7 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 11:10 am The main thing I'd want to know is whether this is one of those lab bills for more or less normal blood work that the insurance company might typically pay less than $100 for but when they don't cover it, the lab bills you for 10X that or more.
This is an important point. If the bill were for under $100 for lab work and I knew the service was performed, I'd grumble but send a check. For $1,400 on services over four years ago that may have a 1,300% markup included, very much the opposite.

You could also take my uncle's approach to medical bills: if the doctor has a nicer house than you do, or drives a nicer car than you do, then the bill must be up for negotiation. I don't necessarily recommend this approach, but it is an approach.
protagonist
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by protagonist »

8foot7 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 4:10 pm
bd7 wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 11:10 am The main thing I'd want to know is whether this is one of those lab bills for more or less normal blood work that the insurance company might typically pay less than $100 for but when they don't cover it, the lab bills you for 10X that or more.
This is an important point. If the bill were for under $100 for lab work and I knew the service was performed, I'd grumble but send a check. For $1,400 on services over four years ago that may have a 1,300% markup included, very much the opposite.
Exactly. and a very good point.

We just got a ridiculous bill like that from a lab company (Labcorp) for services supposedly rendered in 2022, that was repeatedly sued and forced to pay the government hundreds of millions in damages due to unnecessary tests, overbilling, false claims, etc. They said that they didn't have my correct medicare number and asked for documentation. hmmm.....

My wife and I have been wrongly billed for medical services so many times that I am beginning to think it is the rule, rather than the exception. Every time my insurance co. sorted it out and we have never had to pay. In every case it was the fault of the billing company, hospital or lab, not the physician.
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retiredjg
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by retiredjg »

Is absolutely everyone, except bombcar, overlooking that this bill was probably being generated at the same time the COVID pandemic was declared?
  • Remember when everything in our world came to a halt?

    Nobody knew whether or how to go to work?

    Remote employment for ordinary jobs didn't exist yet?

    The entire medical profession was busy just trying to stay alive and figure out how people could say goodby to their dying loved ones by videochat?
Even the IRS is still coming out from under a backlog generated in 2020. It should be no surprise that some medical billing went astray and some things that fell through the cracks are just now being rectified. I think we will be seeing more of these "late" bills.

I don't know if there are any laws about when they can bill, but lots of deadlines get extended or paused during a crisis. This certainly seems to qualify. Even if there are some rules about this, they may not apply because of the enormity of the situation in this country during that time.
Alan S.
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by Alan S. »

The highly delinquent bill is one thing, but sending a bill this old with no explanation is arrogant and infuriating. If they had explained the reason for the delinquency and apologized for the inconvenience knowing that many patients may have had the funds budgeted and available in 2020 but not now, a higher % of these bills would likely be paid.
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yankees60
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by yankees60 »

Alan S. wrote: Thu Jun 27, 2024 5:18 pm The highly delinquent bill is one thing, but sending a bill this old with no explanation is arrogant and infuriating. If they had explained the reason for the delinquency and apologized for the inconvenience knowing that many patients may have had the funds budgeted and available in 2020 but not now, a higher % of these bills would likely be paid.
All quite true.
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theplayer11
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Re: Medical bill received 4.5 years after service

Post by theplayer11 »

4 years? they can go pound sand
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