Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

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LiterallyIronic
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Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:10 pm

So I was checking the mail yesterday and there was a letter from a collections company saying that I owe them $118.86 + $28.26 in interest, for a total of $147.13. The letter said the "original client" was a health center.

I looked up that health center and noticed it was a place I went to for an ear irrigation a long time ago. I drove over there. Billing department was closed - apparently they're not there on Saturdays - but the front desk girl had access to limited information.

She said the service was for "ear pain" in December 2016. That made sense. But I knew I paid the bill while I was there. Didn't go through insurance, just swiped my debit card. She said she saw a payment for $83 from the same day. That was me paying the bill. But she said it looked like someone mis-keyed something when entering the "no insurance" discount. The bill was apparently supposed to be $179. Which they apparently got wrong on the day I got the service done. And that number doesn't even make sense, because if it was $179, and I paid $83, then the leftover wouldn't be $118.

I received no communication from them for the last year and a half. Had they contacted me, I would've immediately driven over there and paid the remainder of the bill. Instead, all I get is a collections notice yesterday. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if I gave them fake contact information when I was there because I don't like being in people's systems. I definitely wouldn't've given them my SSN. That being said, they managed to get the collections letter to me, so they obviously got my address from their system or from somewhere else somehow.

The girl at the front desk told me to talk to their billing department on Monday when they're open. That being said, if they sold the debt, then paying them would be pointless, but I could try to figure out what the itemized bill really was supposed to be, why they didn't charge me the full amount when I was there, and why I didn't hear from them for the last year and a half.

I haven't contacted the collections company yet, but I know I need to contact them within 30 days and in writing.

I, of course, will pay anybody who I owe money to, but people need to tell me if I owe them. The contents of the letter from the collections company is this:

"This communication is from a debt collector. This is an attempt to collect a debt/debts and any information obtained will be for that purpose.

You are hereby notified that a negative credit report reflecting on your credit record may be submitted to a credit reporting agency if you fail to fulfill the terms of your credit obligations. Any such negative credit reporting by us will not be submitted about the credit obligation(s) identified above until after expiration of the time period described below.

Unless you notify this office within 30 days after receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this/these debt(s) or any portion thereof, this office will assume the debt(s) is/are valid. If you notify this office in writing within 30 days from receiving this notice that you dispute the validity of this/these debt(s) or any portion thereof, this office will obtain verification of the debt(s) or obtain a copy of a judgment and mail you a copy of such judgment or verification(s). If you request this office in writing within 30 days after receiving this notice this office will provide you with the name and address of the original creditor(s), if different from the current creditor(s)."

I don't want to dispute the debt, I just want to know why I wasn't charged the amount when the services were rendered, why I wasn't contacted previously, and how to make sure this stays off my 800+ credit score.

What should I ask the health center on Monday? What should I ask the collections company in writing? They're based a couple cities away, should I just drive over to the collections company? Do I need something in writing saying that they have not posted it to my credit score and will not post it and if they have or ever do, they'll remove it? Do I have leverage to ask for a "pay for delete" in exchange for payment in full?

Help, I'm really stressing out!

TIAX
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by TIAX » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:15 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:10 pm
Help, I'm really stressing out!
You're stressing out over a $100 possibly invalid debt? All collection agencies do is scare people who don't know that the agencies can't actually do anything. Write the letter to the collection agency asking them to validate the debt and, otherwise, not contact you, and tell the creditor you don't owe them anything. How are you on the statute of limitations in your state?

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:22 pm

Don't stress, it's just a chore that needs to be dealt with.

You can call the Health Center Monday. If you really owe the money, they can pull the debt back from whoever wrote you a letter, and you can pay the health center. It may be that the "debt collector" is really just another department of the health center, but they use the debt collector verbiage to scare people.

Either way, this is a nuisance but not a big deal.

wassabi
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by wassabi » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:25 pm

TIAX wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:15 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:10 pm
Help, I'm really stressing out!
You're stressing out over a $100 possibly invalid debt? All collection agencies do is scare people who don't know that the agencies can't actually do anything. Write the letter to the collection agency asking them to validate the debt and, otherwise, not contact you, and tell the creditor you don't owe them anything. How are you on the statute of limitations in your state?
But can't the collection agency notify the credit bureau and put a negative mark on OP's credit?

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whodidntante
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by whodidntante » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:29 pm

I would also ask what address said ear clinic has on file for you. Sometimes it's wrong. Guess how I know.

retiredjg
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:39 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:10 pm
I don't want to dispute the debt, I just want to know why I wasn't charged the amount when the services were rendered, why I wasn't contacted previously, and how to make sure this stays off my 800+ credit score.
You weren't charged because someone made a mistake. Perhaps you were not contacted, when they discovered the mistake, because you gave them fake information?

If this turns out to be correct, you should just send a check to the collections agency now. Delaying payment will result in a "did not pay" flag on your credit score and your score could take a severe downturn as a result.

jeff1949
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by jeff1949 » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:40 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:29 pm
I would also ask what address said ear clinic has on file for you. Sometimes it's wrong. Guess how I know.
OP already admitted: " I wouldn't be surprised if I gave them fake contact information when I was there because I don't like being in people's systems."

I think this is where he made the error. Fake contact info = Not Good IMHO.

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Pajamas
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:40 pm

You should dispute the debt in writing. Making them prove that it is valid will help you understand how this happened and how much you might actually owe.

It may also be that they simply drop it instead of bothering with that. Bad debt gets sold for pennies on the dollar and they don't want to put much effort into collecting.

Giving health care providers or others fake contact information is not a good practice and might lead to charges of fraud.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:47 pm

We had one of these where the hospital had an old address for us. We didn't dispute it, we paid it because it was a legitimate bill. But we paid direct to the hospital, because they pulled the debt back from the collector. No ding on our credit report.

TIAX
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by TIAX » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:50 pm

OP, what fake info did you give them? Just the address? I assume you used your real name.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:02 pm

TIAX wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:50 pm
OP, what fake info did you give them? Just the address? I assume you used your real name.
The front desk looked me up based on name and birthday, so they at least have that. I can't confirm what contact info they have on file, but I wouldn't be surprised if the address and phone number are something like 123 Main Street and 867-5309. But they mailed me a letter at me real address, so maybe I did give them the real contact info. I don't know. It was a long time ago.

Either way, I expect that when I get a product or service and they say, "It costs $XYZ" that paying $XYZ settles my account with them.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:04 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:47 pm
We had one of these where the hospital had an old address for us. We didn't dispute it, we paid it because it was a legitimate bill. But we paid direct to the hospital, because they pulled the debt back from the collector. No ding on our credit report.
Interesting. The original creditor can pull the debt back from the collector? If they claim to be able to do this, how can I know that they actually did and that I won't pay them and still owe the collection company?

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:07 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:40 pm
You should dispute the debt in writing. Making them prove that it is valid will help you understand how this happened and how much you might actually owe.

It may also be that they simply drop it instead of bothering with that. Bad debt gets sold for pennies on the dollar and they don't want to put much effort into collecting.

Giving health care providers or others fake contact information is not a good practice and might lead to charges of fraud.
They won't have to put any effort into collecting. I'll get a money order for the full amount and drive it to the health center or the collection company tomorrow if it will keep this bill I didn't know I had off my credit report.

P.S. - Sorry for replying individually, I'm using my phone.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:08 pm

You need to talk to the health center and verify that they can and will do this. Then you pay the health center. Then if you hear again from the collection company, that is the time to write them a letter demanding that they document the debt. It probably won't get that far, but even if it does you can then dispute the debt with both the collection agency and the credit reporting companies.

retiredjg
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by retiredjg » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:15 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:02 pm
TIAX wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:50 pm
OP, what fake info did you give them? Just the address? I assume you used your real name.
The front desk looked me up based on name and birthday, so they at least have that. I can't confirm what contact info they have on file, but I wouldn't be surprised if the address and phone number are something like 123 Main Street and 867-5309. But they mailed me a letter at me real address, so maybe I did give them the real contact info. I don't know. It was a long time ago.
If the provider had mailed you a letter, this bill would not be "sudden" or "weird". You would have known about it and chances are you would have paid it, perhaps unhappily.

The fact that the collections people used your correct address does not indicate the provider had your correct address. Collections people have resources that the provider probably does not have.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:21 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:15 pm
If the provider had mailed you a letter, this bill would not be "sudden" or "weird". You would have known about it and chances are you would have paid it, perhaps unhappily.

The fact that the collections people used your correct address does not indicate the provider had your correct address. Collections people have resources that the provider probably does not have.
The health center never mailed me a letter, just the collections company. That's what makes it "sudden" and "weird." That being said, the collections company also didn't mail me at my current address. They mailed me at the address where I lived when I visited the health center (which USPS forwarded to my current address). So I don't know if the collection company got that address from the what I gave the health center when I visited, or if they used some other resource to find an address for me and found my old address.

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Watty
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by Watty » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:26 pm

See this article about importance of requesting a debt validation letter.

https://clark.com/personal-finance-cred ... collector/

bayview
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by bayview » Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:30 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:22 pm
Don't stress, it's just a chore that needs to be dealt with.

You can call the Health Center Monday. If you really owe the money, they can pull the debt back from whoever wrote you a letter, and you can pay the health center. It may be that the "debt collector" is really just another department of the health center, but they use the debt collector verbiage to scare people.

Either way, this is a nuisance but not a big deal.
Right.

Tell them what the front desk person told you: the amount was mis-keyed, you paid what you were told that you owed, you were never contacted about the error and the remaining balance due (don't tell them that you gave them false information :oops:) , and you will pay them directly what is owed, ONLY if they will pull back the debt from the collection agency. Medical collections are often handled this way.

And good Lord, give your correct contact info in situations like this. That's what the contact info is for. They're not going to send you time-share solicitations or something. :oops: :oops: :oops:

I will say in OP's defence that we once had a medical collection appear because an out-of-state emergency department billing service bungled the insurance filing on their end. They had our correct contact info, but they never bothered to reach out to us. They just sent the debt to collections. I was pretty irate.
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RetiredAL
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by RetiredAL » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:08 pm

At this point, do not deal with or communicate with the collections people. Never call them.This letter is an attempt to bully you into settling with them. Do not let it stress you.

Clarify with Heath People what the amount due is, telling them they made no attempted to contact you. Write a check to the medical people specifying the invoice and/or date of service. Photo copy it. When the medical people cash your check, that is your proof of payment. I'll lay odds they'll cash it without even checking the status of the account.

After you know the check was cashed, write the collections people for verification its your debt. Do not call. When they attempt to get that verification from the heath people, they'll find there is no debt, thus case closed. If the collections people post negative info to the Credit Bureau, challenge it.

We went through the same scenario a few years back with my son at a health clinic, where they charged only a partial amount to his Credit Card when they were supposed to bill the entire amount, and then never billed the rest, just turning it over to collections months later. Of note, when we asked for validation, we never heard from the collection people again.

Ancient medical billings showing up in collections years later are becoming a plague. I suspect moving medical billing from one billing system/agent to a new one by the medical people surfaces bills no one what looking at or cared about, and the quick solution is just give it to collections.

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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by Amphian » Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:19 pm

bayview wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:30 pm
I will say in OP's defence that we once had a medical collection appear because an out-of-state emergency department billing service bungled the insurance filing on their end. They had our correct contact info, but they never bothered to reach out to us. They just sent the debt to collections. I was pretty irate.
I had the same thing happen to me years ago, but for a local bill. The first I heard of the bill was from debt collections. When I asked the healthcare company to provide proof they had actually billed me for this expense, they were unable to do so and told me it didn't matter if they had ever billed me or not, I "should have known" somehow that I owed them additional money. I refused to pay unless they removed it from collections and dropped the fees, which they did.

gd
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by gd » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:02 pm

Decades ago I had a long, complicated mess involving botched employer health insurance and a health center that went to a collection agency before I realized it'd been mishandled. I wrote the collection agency a detailed letter describing why their claim was invalid (and mentioned that I didn't live in the US any more!), and never heard from anyone again. Lots of self-induced stress, but no impact otherwise. My opinions: 1) My understanding is that once they sell the debt, the original creditor is no longer involved. The health center may be talking to you as a courtesy, but they are not the ones with the claim, nor does it resolve the supposed debt the collection agency owns if you now give the health center money. This is my *opinion*! 2) Collection agencies have resources, how and where they found you is irrelevant. 3) They live on percentages; if they don't think they'll recover enough to make it worth the effort they expend, they'll throw your case in the trash and move on. Small amounts, poor debtors, or weak case with lots of evidence against them all factor in. If I were you I'd detail your case to the collector with every scrap of documentation you can think of, politely tell them to pound sand, move on, and stop giving out fake addresses.

JBTX
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by JBTX » Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:03 am

From my perspective, by potentially giving out fraudulent address information, you have either committed a breach of contract from a tort perspective or some sort of address fraud from a criminal perspective. (I’m not a lawyer or legal expert)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Address_fraud

If for some reason you don’t want to provide an address, then at the time of service refuse to give the information. They may either say fine, or they may refuse service. But instead you fraudulently gave false information

It isn’t unreasonable for such a vendor to want such information. What if there is an insurance issue, or a credit card problem, or something else? There are also a lot of HIPAA requirements. I have no idea if collecting such info is one of them.

Given you don’t know if you have committed fraud or not I’d pay the balance and be done with it.

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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:08 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:02 pm
TIAX wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:50 pm
OP, what fake info did you give them? Just the address? I assume you used your real name.
The front desk looked me up based on name and birthday, so they at least have that. I can't confirm what contact info they have on file, but I wouldn't be surprised if the address and phone number are something like 123 Main Street and 867-5309. But they mailed me a letter at me real address, so maybe I did give them the real contact info. I don't know. It was a long time ago.

Either way, I expect that when I get a product or service and they say, "It costs $XYZ" that paying $XYZ settles my account with them.

Maybe the conflict between the information you provided and the information your health insurance provider had on you invalidated that insurance coverage. They could have thought you were stealing someone else's insurance and using it.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:59 am

Hikes_With_Dogs wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:08 am
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:02 pm
TIAX wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:50 pm
OP, what fake info did you give them? Just the address? I assume you used your real name.
The front desk looked me up based on name and birthday, so they at least have that. I can't confirm what contact info they have on file, but I wouldn't be surprised if the address and phone number are something like 123 Main Street and 867-5309. But they mailed me a letter at me real address, so maybe I did give them the real contact info. I don't know. It was a long time ago.

Either way, I expect that when I get a product or service and they say, "It costs $XYZ" that paying $XYZ settles my account with them.

Maybe the conflict between the information you provided and the information your health insurance provider had on you invalidated that insurance coverage. They could have thought you were stealing someone else's insurance and using it.
Well, it's definitely not that, because I didn't go through insurance. I told them I didn't have insurance. Then I swiped my debit card to pay the bill.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by SrGrumpy » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:14 pm

In future - give your (true) address, but NOT your SSN.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:35 am

Update for closure:

I went to the health center to talk to the billing department. They confirmed that it was a billing error. Something was mis-keyed, and that I was originally supposed to be charged $178 minus the cash discount, making the charge $126. However, I was instead charged $83 and that's what I paid on the day of service.

The billing department chalked it up as a clerical error and e-mailed the collections company to tell them that the debt was sent to them in error and that it needed to be cancelled.

Then yesterday I confirmed with the debt collection company that it was indeed marked as a cancelled account and they are mailing me a letter confirming that the debt was cancelled and that it has not and will not be reported to any credit bureaus. So it looks like my credit score will remain unblemished from this situation. Just to be safe, I did mail the collections company a letter via certified mail, disputing the validity of the debt.

I didn't ask about why I didn't receive any notice or confirm what address they had for me on file. But I figure I'll wander back there in a few days, tell them I moved, and have them update my address on file for future reference. Probably makes more sense for places like that to have my actual address.

NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:39 am

Thanks, glad to hear it worked out well for you. Weekends are a bad time to get bad news, aren't they?

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obafgkm
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by obafgkm » Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:51 am

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:39 am
Weekends are a bad time to get bad news, aren't they?
My experience is that bad news of this type almost always shows up in the mail Friday after close of business. :oops:

staythecourse
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:04 am

My guess is your memory is a bit better then you are letting on. You gave false contact information and unfortunately found out why not to do that. Not sure why as I don't know ANY medical office in history that solicits randomly patients. It isn't like they are telemarketers. Unfortunate since you went out of your insurance (which is illegal as well) they couldn't be available to send you an EOB.

In the end, it looks like some bad luck starting with the office misbilling. I would go and tell the office billing IN PERSON the situation that they were at fault (which is true) for the misbilling. Ask them if you pay right there can they call the collection agency and have it removed. They do have that power. I once had a collection for my wife's dental work which I did pay, but somehow it got reported. In which case they confirmed it was paid and then called the collection agency to have it removed. If they do (which I am sure they will as it was partly their fault) just make sure that the collection agency 1. Removed it AND 2. Reported the removal to all 3 credit bureaus.

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

LiterallyIronic
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by LiterallyIronic » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:50 am

staythecourse wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:04 am
Unfortunate since you went out of your insurance (which is illegal as well) they couldn't be available to send you an EOB.
I'm going to need you to cite a source on that, because everything I read says it's perfectly legal. Just like if you crash your car, you can get it fixed yourself rather than using your auto insurance.

The health center already got it removed from the collection agency and poo-poo'd my offer to pay the remainder of the bill, instead opting to write it off, so it looks like I won't be paying any more than the $83 I already paid AND won't get my credit dinged.

staythecourse
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:58 am

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:50 am
staythecourse wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:04 am
Unfortunate since you went out of your insurance (which is illegal as well) they couldn't be available to send you an EOB.
I'm going to need you to cite a source on that, because everything I read says it's perfectly legal. Just like if you crash your car, you can get it fixed yourself rather than using your auto insurance.

The health center already got it removed from the collection agency and poo-poo'd my offer to pay the remainder of the bill, instead opting to write it off, so it looks like I won't be paying any more than the $83 I already paid AND won't get my credit dinged.
Will work on the citation, but you don't seem to understand. It is the PROVIDER who is doing something illegal. He is the one with the contract with the insurance company stating he will bill x for procedure y for everyone of those patients who have insurance z.

BTW, go back and read my post and basically what happened is what happened. I told you they likely would settle it (nice of them to not make you pay the difference) and would call the collection agency to remove it. So I was right. Either way, don't forget to follow up with the collection agency in about a week and 1. Make sure they actually DID remove it and 2. That it was not reported to the 3 bureaus. And if so, they need to contact them and have them remove it. Then you need to call back again about 8 weeks later to make sure they did (it can take 60 days). As mentioned, I went through the same thing.

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

SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by SlowMovingInvestor » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:15 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:58 am
Will work on the citation, but you don't seem to understand. It is the PROVIDER who is doing something illegal. He is the one with the contract with the insurance company stating he will bill x for procedure y for everyone of those patients who have insurance z.
That's only if you ask the provider to use insurance z. if you offer to pay cash, then you are not asking him to use insurance z, and he can charge more or less, as he wants. It's not illegal at all.

Most pharmacies (including the large chains) will give you a cash price for a prescription if you ask for it, and it may often be less than the insurance price because of rebates.

TIAX
Posts: 1134
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:19 pm

Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by TIAX » Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:42 pm

staythecourse wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:04 am
Unfortunate since you went out of your insurance (which is illegal as well) they couldn't be available to send you an EOB.
It's "illegal" not to use insurance? I think not.

new2bogle
Posts: 1312
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:05 pm

Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by new2bogle » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:23 pm

wassabi wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:25 pm
TIAX wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:15 pm
LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:10 pm
Help, I'm really stressing out!
You're stressing out over a $100 possibly invalid debt? All collection agencies do is scare people who don't know that the agencies can't actually do anything. Write the letter to the collection agency asking them to validate the debt and, otherwise, not contact you, and tell the creditor you don't owe them anything. How are you on the statute of limitations in your state?
But can't the collection agency notify the credit bureau and put a negative mark on OP's credit?
YES!

My wife has a collection notice on her credit report even though debt collector could not validate debt. I have no idea how to remove this and it is dropping her credit score to the 670 range.

Don't assume writing a debt validation letter will be the end of it.

staythecourse
Posts: 5869
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:40 am

Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:52 pm

TIAX wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 12:42 pm
staythecourse wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:04 am
Unfortunate since you went out of your insurance (which is illegal as well) they couldn't be available to send you an EOB.
It's "illegal" not to use insurance? I think not.
Please read other posts before spouting off. it is ILLEGAL for the provider to do it. I made that clear earlier.

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

TSR
Posts: 695
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:08 am

Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by TSR » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:20 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:02 pm
I can't confirm what contact info they have on file, but I wouldn't be surprised if the address and phone number are something like 123 Main Street and 867-5309.
I don't know about the address, but I'm guessing the debt collector got your number on the wall...

bayview
Posts: 1536
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: WNC

Re: Suddenly I had a weird bill go to collections - what's my course of action?

Post by bayview » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:38 pm

LiterallyIronic wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:35 am
Update for closure:

I went to the health center to talk to the billing department. They confirmed that it was a billing error. Something was mis-keyed, and that I was originally supposed to be charged $178 minus the cash discount, making the charge $126. However, I was instead charged $83 and that's what I paid on the day of service.

The billing department chalked it up as a clerical error and e-mailed the collections company to tell them that the debt was sent to them in error and that it needed to be cancelled.

Then yesterday I confirmed with the debt collection company that it was indeed marked as a cancelled account and they are mailing me a letter confirming that the debt was cancelled and that it has not and will not be reported to any credit bureaus. So it looks like my credit score will remain unblemished from this situation. Just to be safe, I did mail the collections company a letter via certified mail, disputing the validity of the debt.

I didn't ask about why I didn't receive any notice or confirm what address they had for me on file. But I figure I'll wander back there in a few days, tell them I moved, and have them update my address on file for future reference. Probably makes more sense for places like that to have my actual address.
Well, good to know, and this is EXACTLY how to handle medical collections when you can: arrange payment with the original creditor contingent on their pulling back the debt, then challenging the collection agency to prove their right to collect. Which they can’t, once you’ve paid the original creditor.

This works for medical collections, largely because medical billing practices are so shoddy. It usually doesn’t work with non-medical collections, because they are typically handled in a much more professional manner. And for medical collections, once you’ve paid the original creditor (the medical entity), you can hit a stubborn collector with HIPAA requirements. If they can’t prove a “business use” of your medical info, they have to go away.
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

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