Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
WL2034
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 10:36 pm

Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by WL2034 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:32 am

Just received a collections notice for a bill from a small regional hospital about 5 hours away from us. It's for $700 and we have never been within 2 hours of this hospital. Initially I thought maybe it was a scam, but after some minimal research it appears the collection agency is legit and the hospital does exist. We never received any bills from the hospital, but the collection notice arrived today. We will call the agency in the morning and follow up with the hospital as well. Wondering how this might have happened. Anyone with experience? The collection agency knows my wife's name and address, otherwise unclear. Is this possibly identity theft, as in someone went to the hospital and used my wife's name?

denovo
Posts: 3524
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by denovo » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:35 am

Does your wife have a common name? Is it possible another Mary Doe went to that hospital and the collection agency is just randomly sending letters to any addresses that come up with that name? I've seen that happen with collection agencies. I would not provide your wife's social security number or any info to them, regardless.

WL2034
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 10:36 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by WL2034 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:42 am

denovo wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:35 am
Does your wife have a common name? Is it possible another Mary Doe went to that hospital and the collection agency is just randomly sending letters to any addresses that come up with that name? I've seen that happen with collection agencies. I would not provide your wife's social security number or any info to them, regardless.
Actually, quite a rare name-- definitely not a mistaken identity. We did check her credit reports and nothing is amiss.

Good point, we definitely won't provide any identifying data that they don't have.

Doom&Gloom
Posts: 1510
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:45 am

WL2034 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:32 am
Just received a collections notice for a bill from a small regional hospital about 5 hours away from us. It's for $700 and we have never been within 2 hours of this hospital. Initially I thought maybe it was a scam, but after some minimal research it appears the collection agency is legit and the hospital does exist. We never received any bills from the hospital, but the collection notice arrived today. We will call the agency in the morning and follow up with the hospital as well. Wondering how this might have happened. Anyone with experience? The collection agency knows my wife's name and address, otherwise unclear. Is this possibly identity theft, as in someone went to the hospital and used my wife's name?
Happened to me several years ago, but I had been to the same hospital years earlier. Another patient with the same name had apparently been a deadbeat and the hospital attached my SSN to his account even though our DOBs were obviously different. It was a real PITA to straighten out. After getting nowhere for a couple of years I finally reached someone at the hospital who realized their mistake and killed the process.

My experience was prior to HIPAA. I think that gives you much more leverage these days. IIRC creditboards.com or some similar site has great advice about dealing with similar issues.

stan1
Posts: 5014
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by stan1 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:48 am

Medical billing errors are common. Some tips from my experiences are:
- The collection agency is hoping you will pay the bill to make them go away. I think many people do just pay it rather than putting in the time to correct it. The collection agency cannot correct the error. You have to work with the hospital's billing department to correct the error.

- Keep very good records. Write down whatever information you can get such as an invoice or reference number for the bill. Always write down the name and phone number of the person you are talking to.

- Do not give the collection agency any additional personal information such as your SSN, address, phone number, birthdate. If their records for the billing error are incomplete or wrong they will just add your data to the incorrect record making a stronger case that you owe the bill.

- I had to give the hospital some additional information to get them to believe it was not my bill. I started slowly. They asked for my birthdate. I gave them my birth year. They asked for my SSN. I gave them the last 4. Their records were different so I did not have to give them my birth month or day or complete SSN. Once the billing department employee started to agree there was a billing error she transferred me to a supervisor. I had to start over and convince the supervisor there was an error. Once that happened she agreed to remove the charge.

- The patient made another visit to the hospital about 6 months later. I had to repeat the whole process and of course the supervisor no longer worked there. At that time I asked the hospital billing department supervisor if she could do anything to stop the record from being used in the future. She said yes she could flag the entire name as a fraud case.

- I ended up spending about 4 hours on the phone with various hospital employees. I would have followed up by certified mail but in all cases once I got to the right hospital billing department supervisor and convinced her it was an error she was helpful in getting it fixed.

- In my case the hospital was about 2 hours from a location where I used to live 15 years prior. I think the name on the record was the same as mine and the collection agency through a personal information database search added my current address. In my case the hospital did not have my current address. I refused to give it to them.

Good luck, I think I got lucky as the hospital I was working with was in a small town and the billing department employees did seem to be willing to help correct an error. Be firm about using the term "correct a medical billing error". Make sure you are talking to someone who can correct a medical billing error.
Last edited by stan1 on Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

WL2034
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 10:36 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by WL2034 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:55 am

Interesting to hear about your experience. My wife's name is unusual enough that I am having a hard time imagining a scenario that this is not some kind of fraud. We have never been anywhere near this hospital (100 miles?). My wife is also a physician and I'm wondering if a patient took her name and used it at another hospital.

User avatar
celia
Posts: 7157
Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:32 am
Location: SoCal

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by celia » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:31 am

Could you possibly have a teenager or young adult who needed care and didn't want you to know?

When you talk to the collection agency ask them to send you proof that it is your bill and what the bill is for.

inbox788
Posts: 4183
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:24 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by inbox788 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:01 am

celia wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:31 am
Could you possibly have a teenager or young adult who needed care and didn't want you to know?

When you talk to the collection agency ask them to send you proof that it is your bill and what the bill is for.
There is a bit of a chicken and egg problem, especially with PHI. Unlikely the hospital would give you any information without verifying who you are, and they can't do that without SS and other intrusive questions. Even if you provide them your information and some of it doesn't match the file, you won't be considered verified. Ironically, the more information you provide them, the more they can come after you even if you aren't the one who is responsible. If you provide them your address they may not have, that's just another avenue they can try to collect, and the collectors don't care if you're responsible. Flagging the account fraud is probably the best way to limit future damage. It's a challenge for them to trust a deadbeat account, and for you to trust error prone billers and collectors.

WL2034
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 10:36 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by WL2034 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:19 am

Yes, the only information I'm sure the collection agency has are name and address. And actually, it's possible the hospital didn't even have an address (since we never received a bill from them). Not sure how that would work. In any case, don't want to give them more info than necessary. Should we say we will call authorities and report a crime (fraud, identity theft)?

The collection has not been added to her credit report at this time.

denovo
Posts: 3524
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by denovo » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:36 am

WL2034 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:19 am
Yes, the only information I'm sure the collection agency has are name and address. And actually, it's possible the hospital didn't even have an address (since we never received a bill from them). Not sure how that would work. In any case, don't want to give them more info than necessary. Should we say we will call authorities and report a crime (fraud, identity theft)?

The collection has not been added to her credit report at this time.
The best way to take a hard line against the collection agency is to mention mail fraud and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

denovo
Posts: 3524
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by denovo » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:37 am

WL2034 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:42 am
denovo wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 12:35 am
Does your wife have a common name? Is it possible another Mary Doe went to that hospital and the collection agency is just randomly sending letters to any addresses that come up with that name? I've seen that happen with collection agencies. I would not provide your wife's social security number or any info to them, regardless.
Actually, quite a rare name-- definitely not a mistaken identity. We did check her credit reports and nothing is amiss.

Good point, we definitely won't provide any identifying data that they don't have.
Another thing that popped in my head, I know a lot of hospitals are part of chains now, is there any possibility that this hospital that sent the bill to collections is somehow affiliated with a hospital your wife went to?

Billionaire
Posts: 265
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:05 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Billionaire » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:03 am

I would write a letter to the President of the hospital, letting him/her know that you will not be paying the bill, unless the hospital can provide documentation that you or a member of your family did in-fact incur the debt. Sometimes you just have to bypass the people on the front line.

stan1
Posts: 5014
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by stan1 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:59 am

Perhaps my post was too long. Call the billing office of the hospital and tell them you have a medical billing error you need them to fix (or call it fraud if you want but that's not proven). Medical billing errors are very frequent. Hospitals know how to handle this situation.

student
Posts: 1379
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:58 am

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by student » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:28 am

I suggest you ask the question at creditboards. They have many experts that can tell you precisely what to do.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 14011
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:40 am

Check to see if that hospital is part of a group - and she may have been a patient at another hospital in the same group. More and more hospitals are merging or being acquired by groups that have a lot of hospitals. Maybe there was a clerical mixup and the hospital name was entered incorrectly.

Check with your insurance company about any claims that could correlate to this bill.

Might there be a possible relative that used her name (or was somehow mixed up with her)?

Try to get as many details about the dates of service, nature of the services, etc. That might help narrow it down.

To the extent possible, try to deal directly with the hospital - and not a collection agency. Note also, that this might not be a collection agency - but just a part of the hospital billing. Try to avoid giving them any more information about her (a real challenge). See if this alleged service had some kind of insurance claim - that might help in the research.

Nutmeg
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Nutmeg » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:08 am

Please do not call the collections agency. Calling does not do anything to preserve your rights and involves your spending your time trying to sort out the source of the error.

Write a letter within 30 days of your receipt of the collections letter stating that you dispute the validity of the bill. Request verification of the bill. See what the collections agency sends you. Then use that information to take further action.

This preserves your rights, requires the collections agency to note that the bill is disputed if it reports the unpaid bill to a credit agency, allows you to gather information, takes little of your time, and forestalls any questioning of you and your personal details until you see what information the collections agency has.

After you see what the collections agency has, you can decide whether you need to contact the hospital as well.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 2455
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:15 am

Had this thing happen to me many years ago. I just called up the collection agency, had a short talk with them to establish I wasn't who they wanted and that was the end of it.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 14011
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by dm200 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:19 am

Nutmeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:08 am
Please do not call the collections agency. Calling does not do anything to preserve your rights and involves your spending your time trying to sort out the source of the error.
Write a letter within 30 days of your receipt of the collections letter stating that you dispute the validity of the bill. Request verification of the bill. See what the collections agency sends you. Then use that information to take further action.
This preserves your rights, requires the collections agency to note that the bill is disputed if it reports the unpaid bill to a credit agency, allows you to gather information, takes little of your time, and forestalls any questioning of you and your personal details until you see what information the collections agency has.
After you see what the collections agency has, you can decide whether you need to contact the hospital as well.
When you send such letters, I would send them certified, return receipt.

fposte
Posts: 997
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by fposte » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:19 am

Nutmeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:08 am
Write a letter within 30 days of your receipt of the collections letter stating that you dispute the validity of the bill. Request verification of the bill. See what the collections agency sends you. Then use that information to take further action.

This preserves your rights, requires the collections agency to note that the bill is disputed if it reports the unpaid bill to a credit agency, allows you to gather information, takes little of your time, and forestalls any questioning of you and your personal details until you see what information the collections agency has.
I thought this was only for third-party collectors and that in-house collection wasn't covered under the FDCPA. Not true?

Nutmeg
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Nutmeg » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:32 am

fposte wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:19 am
Nutmeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:08 am
Write a letter within 30 days of your receipt of the collections letter stating that you dispute the validity of the bill. Request verification of the bill. See what the collections agency sends you. Then use that information to take further action.

This preserves your rights, requires the collections agency to note that the bill is disputed if it reports the unpaid bill to a credit agency, allows you to gather information, takes little of your time, and forestalls any questioning of you and your personal details until you see what information the collections agency has.
I thought this was only for third-party collectors and that in-house collection wasn't covered under the FDCPA. Not true?
The OP stated that the notice was from a collections agency, so I read that as being from an outside agency. Perhaps the OP could clarify this. I don't know whether the FDCPA applies in-house (but I suspect not).

If the bill came from an in-house collections department, I would still write rather than calling. In the letter, I would state that I had never been to that hospital and believe that the bill is in error. In my view, it is better to dispute the bill in writing before taking the time to call.

fposte
Posts: 997
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:32 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by fposte » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:39 am

Nutmeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:32 am

The OP stated that the notice was from a collections agency, so I read that as being from an outside agency. Perhaps the OP could clarify this. I don't know whether the FDCPA applies in-house (but I suspect not).

If the bill came from an in-house collections department, I would still write rather than calling. In the letter, I would state that I had never been to that hospital and believe that the bill is in error. In my view, it is better to dispute the bill in writing before taking the time to call.
Sorry, I was overextrapolating for my own experience, where the collection agency is technically in-house for the hospital, even though it has an external name. It's possible that's the case for the OP, but I shouldn't assume.
Last edited by fposte on Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TravelGeek
Posts: 1219
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:23 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by TravelGeek » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:47 am

stan1 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:48 am

- I ended up spending about 4 hours on the phone with various hospital employees. I would have followed up by certified mail but in all cases once I got to the right hospital billing department supervisor and convinced her it was an error she was helpful in getting it fixed.
Can you bill them for four hours of work and send them to collections if they ignore the bill? :twisted:

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Pajamas » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:48 am

Nutmeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:32 am

The OP stated that the notice was from a collections agency, so I read that as being from an outside agency. Perhaps the OP could clarify this. I don't know whether the FDCPA applies in-house (but I suspect not).

If the bill came from an in-house collections department, I would still write rather than calling. In the letter, I would state that I had never been to that hospital and believe that the bill is in error. In my view, it is better to dispute the bill in writing before taking the time to call.
Some hospitals are semi-misrepresenting their in-house collections department as an outside collection agency, seemingly on purpose.

Your wife could make one phone call to let them know that she has never been to that hospital and had never even heard of it. In collecting debt it is not uncommon to have to track down a debtor using public databases. Last name, first initial might be enough to send a letter to someone in the same area. A call may satisfy the collection agency and is a lot easier and faster than writing a letter and sending it certified mail.

However, if there were any further contact other than letters that were already in the mail, I would then write a formal letter to the collection agency and hospital both, asserting rights, asking for validation, etc.

InMyDreams
Posts: 159
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:35 am

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by InMyDreams » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:49 am

She could pull her Medical Information Bureau record:
https://www.mib.com/request_your_record.html

Just to be sure no one has id-theft her medical identity

WL2034
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 10:36 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by WL2034 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:50 am

fposte wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:39 am
Nutmeg wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:32 am
fposte wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:19 am

The OP stated that the notice was from a collections agency, so I read that as being from an outside agency. Perhaps the OP could clarify this. I don't know whether the FDCPA applies in-house (but I suspect not).

If the bill came from an in-house collections department, I would still write rather than calling. In the letter, I would state that I had never been to that hospital and believe that the bill is in error. In my view, it is better to dispute the bill in writing before taking the time to call.
Sorry, I was overextrapolating for my own experience, where the collection agency is technically in-house for the hospital, even though it has an external name. It's possible that's the case for the OP, but I shouldn't assume.
Nutmeg is correct, outside collection agency. The letter within 30 day language is actually in the collection letter (it appears to be required by law).

Maybe will send a letter to collections and then call the hospital to attempt to have the bill canceled?

To answer a few other questions, could not be a family member and the only hospital she has been to is the one she works at. Not in the same system (I can't see from the website that this small regional hospital is in a hospital system, but if so, would not be the same).
Last edited by WL2034 on Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

TSR
Posts: 605
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:08 am

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by TSR » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:58 am

I'm not sure how relevant this is, but I once received an EOB from my insurance company for a procedure I never had from a provider in a state I'd never visited. I called and they said there was just a digit transposed in the policy number. The thought that you could get so far down the billing road based solely on a single data-point, incorrectly entered, all seemed crazy to me. In other words, it seems possible to me that this arose from an insurance snafu (but I certainly don't know).

Best of luck!

investing1012
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:19 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by investing1012 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:04 am

What probably happened is that you had a pathology specimen read at a second hospital for a second opinion. The hospital is trying to recoup its payment from the read.

staythecourse
Posts: 5057
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by staythecourse » Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:13 am

investing1012 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:04 am
What probably happened is that you had a pathology specimen read at a second hospital for a second opinion. The hospital is trying to recoup its payment from the read.
If that was the case the patient would still have received an EOB for that charge.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

Nutmeg
Posts: 37
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:52 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Nutmeg » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:10 pm

Maybe will send a letter to collections and then call the hospital to attempt to have the bill canceled?

This makes sense--but if you plan to call the hospital, wait until you receive a copy of the information validating the debt from the collections agency before you do so.

Otherwise, the hospital could have a difficult time determining which bill is being disputed without your providing some personal information.

If the bill is in your wife's name, she will need to be the one to contact the hospital.

Yossarian
Posts: 133
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 6:19 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Yossarian » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:26 pm

Do not call the agency. Do everything in writing, and follow the advice on creditboards.

WL2034
Posts: 411
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 10:36 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by WL2034 » Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:52 pm

Here's what happened.
1. Called the small hospital the bill was supposedly from. They have no record of any visits or bills to us.
2. Called the collection agency with a plan to give absolutely no information other than name and address since they already have that. We found out the following:
-the name of the hospital was a clerical error.
-the debt was actually from a local group that she had actually received a final notice bill from ($30) and already paid. The total on the collections demand letter was about $670 which was not an amount she had ever received a bill for.
3. Called the local office for the practice group from which the bill originated and determined that they had received the $30 payment just after they sent the debt to collections. They had contacted the collection agency and stated that payment was received in full and the case should be closed. The office is not sure where the $670 collection bill is originating. The office agrees to call collection agency and sort it out.
4. Local group office calls back and states case is closed. Collection agency "accidentally" attempted to collect $670, which was the amount paid by insurance rather than $30 that was owed as a co-pay. The "clerical error" was corrected and case is closed. I do wonder if that money would ever be refunded if we had paid collections $670. Seems like a bit of a suspicious error to demand $670 instead of $30, but given the other errors involved perhaps it was honest.

In any case, thanks for the tips. We are relieved that this ended up being so simple to resolve.

NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 1393
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:50 pm

Thanks for updating to board on the outcome. Glad it worked out.

And thanks for pointing out that it doesn't hurt to make a call, as long as you are careful about not giving out information. The reactions I see to posts about calls from debt collectors remind me of the cartoons about the housewife standing on a chair in fear because she saw a mouse. Of course you could send a letter by registered mail to the collection agency that sent the notice, but your way got results faster and saved everyone time and money. Well done.

staythecourse
Posts: 5057
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by staythecourse » Fri Oct 06, 2017 3:57 pm

Thanks for update. Just make sure that the collection agency did not already report it to credit bureaus. If they did they need to notify all the 3 agencies. This may take another 30+ days to get corrected on the bureau end and thus reflect correct scores.

For example, I realized after applying for a mortgage there is was a agency report to the bureaus on a nonpayment of a dental copay of $40 for my wife. I remember paying it. Contacted the dental office who agreed. They contacted the agency and agreed. The agency then had to contact the bureaus to have them delete the mistake. That last step to 30-60 days to reflect corrected scores.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 3450
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by BolderBoy » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:06 pm

WL2034 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:55 am
Interesting to hear about your experience. My wife's name is unusual enough that I am having a hard time imagining a scenario that this is not some kind of fraud. We have never been anywhere near this hospital (100 miles?). My wife is also a physician and I'm wondering if a patient took her name and used it at another hospital.

When you talk with the collection agency, demand all the medical records associated with this bill. Make sure they understand it is a non-negotiable demand. Your wife may recognize the patient if s/he was one of hers.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

User avatar
Pajamas
Posts: 2816
Joined: Sun Jun 03, 2012 6:32 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:11 pm

BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:06 pm

When you talk with the collection agency, demand all the medical records associated with this bill. Make sure they understand it is a non-negotiable demand. Your wife may recognize the patient if s/he was one of hers.
Problem was resolved by telephone, see O.P.'s follow-up post a few above yours.

User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 3450
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by BolderBoy » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:14 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:11 pm
BolderBoy wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:06 pm

When you talk with the collection agency, demand all the medical records associated with this bill. Make sure they understand it is a non-negotiable demand. Your wife may recognize the patient if s/he was one of hers.
Problem was resolved by telephone, see O.P.'s follow-up post a few above yours.
Sigh. That is what I get when I don't read to the bottom of the thread before posting my own nonsense. Thanks.
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect

sport
Posts: 6122
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:26 pm
Location: Cleveland, OH

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by sport » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:32 pm

The OP stated that the bill they received was the "final bill" and the bill was sent to collections just before the payment arrived. The lesson to be learned from this is not to delay paying bills. It seems that if this bill has been paid in a timely manner, the entire event would have been avoided. Since the bill was only for $30, it is a little difficult to understand why it was not just paid around the time it was received. If the OP cannot afford to pay a $30 bill within a reasonable time, then they have bigger problems than a misdirected bill.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5468
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:45 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:32 pm
The OP stated that the bill they received was the "final bill" and the bill was sent to collections just before the payment arrived. The lesson to be learned from this is not to delay paying bills. It seems that if this bill has been paid in a timely manner, the entire event would have been avoided. Since the bill was only for $30, it is a little difficult to understand why it was not just paid around the time it was received. If the OP cannot afford to pay a $30 bill within a reasonable time, then they have bigger problems than a misdirected bill.
I've had the original bills go missing in the postal system and had the "final bill" be the first bill that is actually delivered to my house. I've also had cases where I've had to dispute the original bill because they did not properly bill the insurance on the original bill or there is a discrepancy between the bill and the insurance company's explanation of benefits (EOB). I'd assume something like that was the case before assuming that the OP couldn't pay a $30 bill.

To help guard against postal mistakes, it's beneficial to track both medical office bills and insurance EOBs. If I get a bill without an EOB, I can check with the insurance for accuracy. If I get an EOB without a bill, I can check with the provider for how to make payment.

Also OP, you might want to edit your original post to indicate that the problem was resolved. That might cut down on the responses from people who don't finish the thread before responding.

SimonJester
Posts: 1325
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:39 pm

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by SimonJester » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:19 am

WL2034 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:52 pm
Collection agency "accidentally" attempted to collect $670, which was the amount paid by insurance rather than $30 that was owed as a co-pay.

I do wonder if that money would ever be refunded if we had paid collections $670.
I'm sure this was not an "accident" and if you had paid the full $670 you would had never seen that money again.
The collection agency is betting on you not checking...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 14011
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by dm200 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:07 am

SimonJester wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:19 am
WL2034 wrote:
Fri Oct 06, 2017 2:52 pm
Collection agency "accidentally" attempted to collect $670, which was the amount paid by insurance rather than $30 that was owed as a co-pay.
I do wonder if that money would ever be refunded if we had paid collections $670.
I'm sure this was not an "accident" and if you had paid the full $670 you would had never seen that money again.
The collection agency is betting on you not checking...
Good question. When $30 becomes $670 - tracking is more difficult.

User avatar
midareff
Posts: 5090
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:43 am
Location: Biscayne Bay, South Florida

Re: Sent to collections by a hospital we've never been to?

Post by midareff » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:10 am

Just received a statement and bill from Mount Sinai Hospital for a co-pay that was made at the time of service. Sent them a photocopy of the receipt they issued for the co-pay. They do this and have done it almost yearly.

Post Reply