This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

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Jackson12
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This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:47 pm

Here's the situation ( please hang in there as you read the details) . I believe it's a very unusual situation. I don't know who to contact or whether we need legal advice.i would greatly appreciate input and suggestions.

I am scared our credit rating, which is excellent, could be affected - unfairly. I've included a related link, see link 2 , about a company, Confirmatrix , which was eventually put under federal investigation for many improprieties.

The company was put up for auction and no longer exists. Until then they conducted urine test screenings for many reputable doctorres..

The current issue: we just received a bill for over $6000 worth of charges from a collection agency trying to collect on charges we supposedly owe to Confirmatrix ! But the company no longer exists!

The letter notes that unless we " notify the ( collection agency) office within 30 days after receiving the notice that we dispute the charges they will be considered "valid". If we do contact them they will obtain verfication of the debt, obtain a judgment, and mail us a copy as well as the bane and address of the current creditor " if different from the original creditor" .

Turns out the founder of Comfirmatrix had served years in jail for several offenses( please see link) . After that he headed a company which conducted specialized urine tests for doctors, charging way above the norm. Our doctor was one of those doctors, as were many across the country.

How did we cross paths with Comfirmatrix ?

Because My spouse was given urine screening test by Confirmatrix as part of the protocol for pain management conducted by his pain management doctor . The treatment, injections in the back, , were very effective.

Before the injections were given, urine was collected by Confirmatrix and supposedly tested to insure patients didn't have any substances or medications in their bodies which could affect pain management.

The doctor who has a stellar rating and reputation, , admitted he was duped. When my husband saw him, he and his billing department told us the tests were fully covered by our insurance before we agreed to the tests ( I did inquire at the time) ...and that simply turned out to be untrue. Our insurance only paid what they considered reasonable and normal charges.

The rest was supposedly on us and subject to our dedeuctible. I complained about being given incorrect info about our coverage ( as I assume did other patients) Our doctor subsequently went after Comfirmatrix . We were then assured the whole situation was " resolved" .

Now, 3 years later, we get this letter from a collection agency for charges owed Comfirmatrix, a company which no longer even exists!

So do we contact the doctors office to intervene? They had supposedly settled things with Confirmatrix and told us do.
I would contact our health insurance provider at the time and get their input but they too are no longer in business ( see link 1)

Link 1: https://www.ibj.com/articles/59578-stru ... -its-doors

Link 2:
https://www.ajc.com/news/state--regiona ... CZgcuBPQJ/
Last edited by Jackson12 on Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Dulocracy
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Dulocracy » Fri Mar 09, 2018 5:56 pm

Contact a debtor's rights attorney. Not a bankruptcy attorney, but an attorney who deals with debtor's rights in debt collection. You would be amazed at how often additional fees are added on to regular charges. In this circumstance, it sounds like a violation of the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), and it is likely that their documentation is not in order.
I'm not a financial professional. Post is info only & not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists with reader. Scrutinize my ideas as if you spoke with a guy at a bar. I may be wrong.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by 4nursebee » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:02 pm

Too much information.
What is on your credit report? Is anything wrong?
4nursebee

Jackson12
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:19 pm

4nursebee wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:02 pm
Too much information.
What is on your credit report? Is anything wrong?
Our credit report is excellent and it is not the focus of my post. What info do you consider excessive? I'm perfectly willing to edit it. I tried to leave out irrelevant details.

A collection agency is trying to get reimbursement for charges supposedly owed to a bankrupt company led by an individual who served 3 years in jail for fraud and then formed s company who overcharged for urine testing. The reps for the now bankrupt company told doctors and patients the testing was covered in network when it was not, etc.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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nisiprius
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by nisiprius » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:29 pm

Yes, you need expert advice.

And be careful, because my limited experience is that collection agencies are scofflaws and routinely do things they are "not allowed" to do. One of the things that really bothered me during the one time I had a really serious experience with a collection agency, over a $65 bill that AT&T acknowledged had been paid, with a cancelled check image showing that it had only only be paid but paid on time, was they kept asserting that they had not received information I had sent them. Of course, they refused to give me the information I needed to have to send them anything with a "signature required" return receipt.

You should not just ignore the bill, but I have no idea what the right response would be. But for starters you need to send them something saying you dispute the bill--possibly with no details, simply saying you dispute it--and send it to them in such a way that you have documentary proof that they received it.

Are they phoning you? Figure out a way you can record the phone calls.
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Watty
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Watty » Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm

The first thing to do is to send them a certified letter asking for a formal debt validation letter.

Here is an explanation of that.

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

Be sure to mention the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the letter so that they will know that you know your rights.

The vast majority of the time that will be the you ever here from them and they cannot put any negative information on your credit report until they have sent that to you.


Jackson12
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:03 pm

JBTX wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:49 pm
interesting info

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/pe ... 100094252/
I appreciate everyone's input. Based on the above link, " attorneys specializing in debt collection cases typically offer a free consultation — and many will often represent you for free if they think a collector has broken the law. (They’ll collect their fees from the plaintiff.)"

I just contacted a debt collections lawyer ( based on another suggestion in this thread and he got back to me promptly. I was told he could indeed go after the collector if the law was broken and could quite possibly collect fees from them.

Since it's the weekend, I'm a sending copy of the letter to him for review and we'll have a (free) consultation on Monday. I'm hoping this is the right course.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:16 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:29 pm
Yes, you need expert advice.

And be careful, because my limited experience is that collection agencies are scofflaws and routinely do things they are "not allowed" to do. One of the things that really bothered me during the one time I had a really serious experience with a collection agency, over a $65 bill that AT&T acknowledged had been paid, with a cancelled check image showing that it had only only be paid but paid on time, was they kept asserting that they had not received information I had sent them. Of course, they refused to give me the information I needed to have to send them anything with a "signature required" return receipt.

You should not just ignore the bill, but I have no idea what the right response would be. But for starters you need to send them something saying you dispute the bill--possibly with no details, simply saying you dispute it--and send it to them in such a way that you have documentary proof that they received it.

Are they phoning you? Figure out a way you can record the phone calls.
They have not phoned me. I'm hoping that they bought accounts with supposedly outstanding debts, , at a huge discount, and assume that naive people will immediately be scared into paying them by the threats of " judgments" against them, etc.


I'm not going to do that.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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EyeYield
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by EyeYield » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:05 pm

As mentioned above, send a letter disputing the debt and offer no other information, except the account numbers that they have provided on their letterhead.

I went through this recently and sent a letter of dispute, but received no response. Six moths latter a different collection agency sent me the same letter, for the same debt, which I also disputed -
I know I didn’t owe any money. Again, they didn’t respond.

All my credit checks revealed no blemishes.

Six months later I received the same letter from the original collection agency, again. This time I sent a firm letter of dispute, along with the a warning of contacting all the authorities in all the appropriate jurisdictions for harassment, illegal collection of a debt and anything else I could think of. I told them I had all the original corresponmdance, along with my disputes and their phone calls - keep a record of everything.

They finally sent me the verification of the debt, but it was in someone else’s name in another city. My name was on page two with some one else’s phone number. I called them and said I received their verification, but it wasn’t my debt.
They told me that they had my dispute on record and wouldn’t contact me any more - we’ll see. I told them I couldn’t dispute someone else’s debt, but why are they sending the debt to my address - no answer.

They would call and ask for the last 4 of my SS, which I refused to give - it seems that that was the missing piece of information they needed to persue me or ding my credit report.

Theses people are usually scum and will use ANYTHING you tell them against you - give them nothing except the account information they gave you.

Good luck and stay tough, this could take some time.
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denovo
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by denovo » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:09 pm

Watty wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm
The first thing to do is to send them a certified letter asking for a formal debt validation letter.

Here is an explanation of that.

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

Be sure to mention the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the letter so that they will know that you know your rights.

The vast majority of the time that will be the you ever here from them and they cannot put any negative information on your credit report until they have sent that to you.
Er, Watty beat me to it again. This is the easy first step. Send this letter, signed, certified with return receipt.
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toofache32
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by toofache32 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:24 pm

Doctor here. I remember getting this sales pitch ~3 years ago for these urine tests prior to prescribing pain meds. It just seemed really shady so I declined. This is not the first time I have heard this scam went belly up.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by maroon » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:54 pm

You could contact your state consumer protection office, see here: https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:14 am

toofache32 wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:24 pm
Doctor here. I remember getting this sales pitch ~3 years ago for these urine tests prior to prescribing pain meds. It just seemed really shady so I declined. This is not the first time I have heard this scam went belly up.
The company, Comfirmatrix, went bankrupt but someone is trying to get money supposedly owed to Confirmatrix. $6000 of overcharges ($4000 a urine test when the normal rate was $750). I don't understand who believes they are owed this money after I paid what my insurance company noted I owed as well as what the doctors Billing department communicated that I owed.

I paid these amounts. They were not small amounts.

I have spent the last hours organizing copies of the bills and my payments, and letters from the doctors billing department and I'm passing copies on to the lawyer, if requested. I had extensive communication with the billing department at the time because I was shocked at the costs and the incorrect information Comfirmatrix gave the doctors about the tests being covered "in network" when they were not. The doctors then told us we were covered in network or we would never have agreed to urine tests which were $4000 per test!

The urine tests cost way more than the injections themselves!

I have looked at the statute of limitations for my state. It's 6 years.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nate79
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Nate79 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:43 am

This sounds like a case of balance billing - the insurance company not paying the full charge and the test company balance billing for the remainder of the bill.

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mhadden1
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by mhadden1 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:03 am

Regarding the fact that Comfirmatrix is no longer in business - my understanding is that debt collectors can buy the right to collect debts, and so the original billing company might no longer be in the picture whether it exists or not. Not that it makes things seem any less unfair.
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gasdoc
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by gasdoc » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:17 am

mhadden1 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:03 am
Regarding the fact that Comfirmatrix is no longer in business - my understanding is that debt collectors can buy the right to collect debts, and so the original billing company might no longer be in the picture whether it exists or not. Not that it makes things seem any less unfair.
Yes, accounts can be bought and sold if a company closes. I purchased and currently own the accounts from our old anesthesia business and from this I get a check from the collections agency once per month. The money is still owed, and the company contacts me for permission to settle when an individual contacts the collections agency. There should be someone that has the authority to negotiate and settle on behalf of whomever currently owns the accounts. Have you tried to negotiate this?

gasdoc

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by EyeYield » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:58 am

OP, imo you’re getting anxious before you need to be, relax. There is no need to rush to a lawyer based on a letter you received in the mail. Dispute the debt, ask for the verification and wait. If and when you get verification, then, maybe, you can see a lawyer.

You have no idea what they have, if anything legit, or if they are just fishing. A 3 year old debt and no phone calls? They obviously don’t even have your number, so what other information is missing?

Have you checked the background/ratings of the collection agency?
You can learn a lot by checking the feedback from other people in your exact situation, which is not unusual at all.
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ncbill
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by ncbill » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:02 am

denovo wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:09 pm
Watty wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm
The first thing to do is to send them a certified letter asking for a formal debt validation letter.

Here is an explanation of that.

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

Be sure to mention the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the letter so that they will know that you know your rights.

The vast majority of the time that will be the you ever here from them and they cannot put any negative information on your credit report until they have sent that to you.
Er, Watty beat me to it again. This is the easy first step. Send this letter, signed, certified with return receipt.
+1

Have done this three times for bogus dunning letters.

Either never heard back, or they said the matter was closed.

Whenever you receive one of these letters, your attitude should be until the collector can prove you owe a debt, you don't.

I bet they don't actually have any records (procedure, date of procedure, authorization) to support their claim, just a list of names/contact info/alleged amount that they've bought from a 3rd party, not from Confirmatrix itself.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:40 am

gasdoc wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:17 am
mhadden1 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:03 am
Regarding the fact that Comfirmatrix is no longer in business - my understanding is that debt collectors can buy the right to collect debts, and so the original billing company might no longer be in the picture whether it exists or not. Not that it makes things seem any less unfair.
Yes, accounts can be bought and sold if a company closes. I purchased and currently own the accounts from our old anesthesia business and from this I get a check from the collections agency once per month. The money is still owed, and the company contacts me for permission to settle when an individual contacts the collections agency. There should be someone that has the authority to negotiate and settle on behalf of whomever currently owns the accounts. Have you tried to negotiate this?



gasdoc
No. I am not negotiating invalid charges. I may be misunderstanding but by "settle" do you mean that I pay a negotiated amount, some dollar amount ? If so, I don't want that.
Last edited by Jackson12 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jackson12
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:52 am

ncbill wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:02 am
denovo wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:09 pm
Watty wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm
The first thing to do is to send them a certified letter asking for a formal debt validation letter.

Here is an explanation of that.

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

Be sure to mention the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the letter so that they will know that you know your rights.

The vast majority of the time that will be the you ever here from them and they cannot put any negative information on your credit report until they have sent that to you.
Er, Watty beat me to it again. This is the easy first step. Send this letter, signed, certified with return receipt.
+1

Have done this three times for bogus dunning letters.

Either never heard back, or they said the matter was closed.

Whenever you receive one of these letters, your attitude should be until the collector can prove you owe a debt, you don't.

I bet they don't actually have any records (procedure, date of procedure, authorization) to support their claim, just a list of names/contact info/alleged amount that they've bought from a 3rd party, not from Confirmatrix itself.

I have written the letter and also filed an official complaint at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the government agency noted in the link provided by Watty and others here. The Bureau investigates these matters.

I am no longer upset although I admit that receiving a collection letter 3 years after the claimed date of service, for thousands of dollars of invalid charges, did temporarily blindside me.

Someone suggested I wait to see if this hits my credit report. I don't want the hassle of disputing that or the risk to my score. I'm simply determined to stay ahead of the curve. It was a simple matter to write the letter and file the complaint.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by bostondan » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:11 pm

We received a vaguely similar collection bill once for a medical charge that did not seem valid and was from many years ago. It also was supposed to have been covered by insurance. I was very reasonable when I called them, only to discover that they were lunatics and further research suggested I shouldn't have attempted to act like a rational adult and speak to them.

I filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office. The AG's office contacted me for more info and then reached out to the company. The company would not be helpful to them either, so they issued a letter to them that seemed similar to a cease and desist and the problem seemed to disappear.
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” - Elie Wiesel

theplayer11
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:21 pm

seems like you should have contacted your health insurance provider to see if these were indeed in network. Relying on your doctor was a mistake.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Nate79 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:09 pm

Unless balance billing is illegal in your state YOU are responsible for paying the difference between the billed charges and how much your insurance covers.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:45 pm

theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:21 pm
seems like you should have contacted your health insurance provider to see if these were indeed in network. Relying on your doctor was a mistake.
Relying on your health insurance provider is also a mistake. There is no iron clad way to tell if a provider is in network.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by ncbill » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:50 pm

Nate79 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:09 pm
Unless balance billing is illegal in your state YOU are responsible for paying the difference between the billed charges and how much your insurance covers.
Only if the collector can provide proof of debt.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:32 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:45 pm
theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:21 pm
seems like you should have contacted your health insurance provider to see if these were indeed in network. Relying on your doctor was a mistake.
Relying on your health insurance provider is also a mistake. There is no iron clad way to tell if a provider is in network.
That's my experience too.

Case in point : being part of a 3 -way conference, this year, where an insurance company rep and the rep for the billing department at a medical facility were arguing with each other. The conference was at at my request because of all the conflicting info I was being given. .

Each rep insisted he or she was right. One rep, the insurance company rep, insisted the medical facility was not in network ( wrong) . The other rep ( medical facility rep) insisted that they were in-network with the insurance company and that we were covered in network ( correct) ..

The insurance company rep couldn't find a code affiliated with the medical facility, a code indicating that it was in network, and so insisted the charges were out of network.

I try to find out if a provider is in network and don't assume anything... even that a lab located in my doctor's office office is in network (they aren't always) , or that the insurance company has correct info to give me.


Yes, I made a mistake with Confirmatrix and the doctor when I assumed they were giving me correct info about the tests being in network. . But then again...the specialist required urine tests before administering pain meds and had been told by Confirmatrix that the tests were covered in network.

If we'd known the truth, we would have simply taken the lab request to another lab. So At this point, I'm disputing the validity of the charges and have filed a complaint.

I hope someone besides me benefits from this thread.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Flobes » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:26 pm

Jackson12 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:32 pm
I hope someone besides me benefits from this thread.
I have benefitted from this thread. My consternation is about Collection matters, although not related to medical billing.

Recently I began to receive a barrage of threatening collection messages on my cell phone, from multiple agents in various area codes. They are all calling for Barbara Lewis (not real name). Each voice message says the call is being recorded as proof that Barbara has been duly notified that legal proceeding will begin in 24 hours if the call is not returned.

But I am not Barbara. And I do not know Barbara.

This week, I began returning the calls, three of them. My message: "You called my cell phone for Barbara. I am not Barbara. I do not know Barbara. Barbara has not been notified. I have had this number for ten years. Please stop calling me."

One of the agents was very polite, said she'd remove my number, and thanked me for the call.

The others were combative and aggressive. "Stop lying. You can't hide. Heard it all before. If you're not Barbara, what's your name?"

I answered, in full bluffing mode, "If you call me again I will take legal action to stop the harassment. You might learn my name then." And promptly hung up.

Next time, I will
Be sure to mention the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act... so that they will know that you know your rights.

and cite my
..state consumer protection office, see here: https://www.usa.gov/state-consumer
Thanks Jackson12, Dulocracy, Watty and maroon. This Forum is amazing!

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by grabiner » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:49 pm

Flobes wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:26 pm
Jackson12 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:32 pm
I hope someone besides me benefits from this thread.
I have benefitted from this thread. My consternation is about Collection matters, although not related to medical billing.

Recently I began to receive a barrage of threatening collection messages on my cell phone, from multiple agents in various area codes. They are all calling for Barbara Lewis (not real name). Each voice message says the call is being recorded as proof that Barbara has been duly notified that legal proceeding will begin in 24 hours if the call is not returned.

But I am not Barbara. And I do not know Barbara.
The wording of this call suggests a scam, not a legitimate collection agency. Legitimate collection agencies will make an effort to contact the correct person before demanding payment, as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act forbids sharing the debt information with most third parties.

I have received several collection calls for the same person who is not at my number; I don't know whether she had the number a long time ago, or made it up, or just gave it out incorrectly (for example, in a different area code). Nobody ever gives me information about the debt beyond the legal statement, "This is an attempt to collect a debt, and any information may be used for that purpose." And everyone has stopped calling when I can reach a human being and say, "You are calling for Jane Doe. I do not know Jane Doe, and do not have contact information for her."

(edited to fix typo)
Last edited by grabiner on Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by jadedfalcons » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:32 pm

I checked this book out from my library awhile back. It was a good read, and your situation sounds like a textbook example.

https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Paper-Chasin ... 0374108234

Like so many others have said, the author says to ask for proof of your debt, and it gets kicked out the majority of the time.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:07 pm

jadedfalcons wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:32 pm
I checked this book out from my library awhile back. It was a good read, and your situation sounds like a textbook example.

https://www.amazon.com/Bad-Paper-Chasin ... 0374108234

Like so many others have said, the author says to ask for proof of your debt, and it gets kicked out the majority of the time.
And...borrowed. Ebooks borrowed from the library From the comfort of home still seem amazing to me.. I prefer " real" books but need adjustable font these days.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by jp1832 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:39 am

My mother has received a collection notice for over $2,000 from the same company (Confirmatrix Laboratory). Her urine was tested by her primary care physician in 2016 as part of a well visit. The PCP has since retired. All the info on Confirmatrix is very shady. I feel that this debt should be canceled based on the company's history and the fact that they were raided by the FBI for insurance fraud. She is requesting her attorney to send a letter to the collection agency. Her credit is exceptional and so far nothing has hit the credit reporting agencies. Good luck in your fight! I'll try to keep you updated on where she gets in this matter.

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mhadden1
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by mhadden1 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:51 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:45 pm
theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:21 pm
seems like you should have contacted your health insurance provider to see if these were indeed in network. Relying on your doctor was a mistake.
Relying on your health insurance provider is also a mistake. There is no iron clad way to tell if a provider is in network.
:x :x :x :x :x

This is such a bind for everybody. Will these problems never be definitely resolved? :? :? :?
Oh I can't, can I? That's what they said to Thomas Edison, mighty inventor, Thomas Lindberg, mighty flyer,and Thomas Shefsky, mighty like a rose.

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obafgkm
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by obafgkm » Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:43 pm

mhadden1 wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:51 pm
This is such a bind for everybody. Will these problems never be definitely resolved? :? :? :?
Yes, there is a way that we could resolve these problems, but we are not allowed to discuss it here. :annoyed

Tribonian
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Tribonian » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:07 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:29 pm

Are they phoning you? Figure out a way you can record the phone calls.
In many states it is unlawful to record without prior consent; I would not recommend this.

If they are calling, I would ask your phone provider to maintain the call logs since there are limitations on what creditors can do to collect debts.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by WildBill » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:39 pm

ncbill wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:02 am
denovo wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 9:09 pm
Watty wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm
The first thing to do is to send them a certified letter asking for a formal debt validation letter.

Here is an explanation of that.

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

Be sure to mention the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the letter so that they will know that you know your rights.

The vast majority of the time that will be the you ever here from them and they cannot put any negative information on your credit report until they have sent that to you.
Er, Watty beat me to it again. This is the easy first step. Send this letter, signed, certified with return receipt.
+1

Have done this three times for bogus dunning letters.

Either never heard back, or they said the matter was closed.

Whenever you receive one of these letters, your attitude should be until the collector can prove you owe a debt, you don't.

I bet they don't actually have any records (procedure, date of procedure, authorization) to support their claim, just a list of names/contact info/alleged amount that they've bought from a 3rd party, not from Confirmatrix itself.
Howdy

I had a similar experience. I received a collection notice from a company asking for payment for alleged services from a defunct company. I sent a challenge letter certified mail to them disputing the claim. They then sent some purported (forged) invoices to me that had the wrong account number and charges. I had already paid the accounts that they were trying to collect on, and they did not have any accurate information.

My reply then was that the invoices were forged, I had reported them to the state attorney general (I did) and that if they produced these documents in a court I would sue them for fraud ( which I would have been happy to do).

Last I heard of it.

What happens is that when the company went out of business some manager or clerical person sold past billing data to the collection agency and they are just using that to try it on. These guys are scum who will try anything.

Good luck

WB
"Through chances various, through all vicissitudes, we make our way." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by cherijoh » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:03 pm

Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:45 pm
theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:21 pm
seems like you should have contacted your health insurance provider to see if these were indeed in network. Relying on your doctor was a mistake.
Relying on your health insurance provider is also a mistake. There is no iron clad way to tell if a provider is in network.
My problem lately is getting balanced bills from contractors (usually anesthesiologists or pathologists) doing work for an out-patient surgery center that IS in my network. These support functions are not customer-facing (with respect to patient choice) so they have NO incentive to be in-network.

All the charges EXCEPT for anesthesiologist were in network subject to my deductible and paid at the negotiated rate. The out-of-network guy gets to collect whatever he wants to charge from me. :annoyed

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by toofache32 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:16 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:03 pm
Epsilon Delta wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:45 pm
theplayer11 wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:21 pm
seems like you should have contacted your health insurance provider to see if these were indeed in network. Relying on your doctor was a mistake.
Relying on your health insurance provider is also a mistake. There is no iron clad way to tell if a provider is in network.
My problem lately is getting balanced bills from contractors (usually anesthesiologists or pathologists) doing work for an out-patient surgery center that IS in my network. These support functions are not customer-facing (with respect to patient choice) so they have NO incentive to be in-network.

All the charges EXCEPT for anesthesiologist were in network subject to my deductible and paid at the negotiated rate. The out-of-network guy gets to collect whatever he wants to charge from me. :annoyed
Ideally, your surgeon (his staff) should be able to tell you this in advance for elective surgery. But they have no incentive to do this because they are already working at a severe discount (if in-network) so they have no incentive to pay another employee to figure this out for you. If a patient gets upset and decides to "vote with their feet" and go elsewhere, the surgeon doesn't care because the insurance company has numerous patients to send them and fill the spot. This is one of the problems with the in-network insurance system...insurance patients tend to greatly overestimate their value to a practice because they don't realize how they actually lose leverage in these scenarios.
I am a completely out-of-network surgeon and I have my staff make sure (in advance) that the expected providers (anesthesiology, pathology) are in network.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by mhadden1 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 5:12 pm

obafgkm wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 2:43 pm
mhadden1 wrote:
Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:51 pm
This is such a bind for everybody. Will these problems never be definitely resolved? :? :? :?
Yes, there is a way that we could resolve these problems, but we are not allowed to discuss it here. :annoyed
Yes I thought about topic limitations right after submitting.

Maybe it would be safe to hope for the elimination of disease as a resolution. :happy
Oh I can't, can I? That's what they said to Thomas Edison, mighty inventor, Thomas Lindberg, mighty flyer,and Thomas Shefsky, mighty like a rose.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 9:54 pm

Update: I sent a certified letter with signature required. I received the signed receipt of delivery today.

There is a convoluted chain of collectors and actions .

The first collector was the original company , Confirmatrix, which went bankrupt and which was investigated for overcharging patients for urine tests ( which we experienced) as well as telling doctors and patients that costs were in network. They misled us and the doctors.

This in network coverage was false. I have contacted the doctor's practice and a very astute and knowledgeable billing rep is also involved. We are among many patients who received notices at once. The billing rep had been investigating all along and told us that a rep for the company had been collecting funds and keeping a portion instead of giving it to Confirmatrix!

However, she has not yet provided proof of this. She did note that there had been an agreement reached with Confirmatrix many years ago and they were not to try to collect on debts. In turn, we paid the doctor in- network charges...which was a mutually agreed solution.

The current collection agency contacting us represents yet a third agency which had purchased the original company's debt and wants to collect on it after Confirmatrix"'s bankruptcy. .

We have requested the original dates and charges for tests which as well as any contact with us and any attempts to collect funds as well as any contact with our health insurance...and any communication about benefits. We have sent notice that we dispute all charges.

I would be very surprised if they can provide the details requested.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:11 pm

In addition to the update above We also wrote that we wanted :
:
Documention proving why they think we currently owe the debt , including;
1. The name and address of the original creditor, the account number (full) used by that creditor, and the amount owed to the creditor when transferred.

2. The date when the current creditor obtained the debt and who it was obtained from.

3. Full verification and documentation that there is a valid basis for claiming that I
we are required to pay this debt to the current creditor, which would include written documents, contracts, and agreements that created our requirement to pay.

Documentation on the amount and age of debt:
1. A copy of the last billing statement sent to us by the original creditor. Copies of any communication and payments from insurance companies.

2. The amount of the debt when obtained and when that was


3. When this debt became due. When it became delinquent.

4. The date of the last payment made on this account

Jackson12
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:32 am

jp1832 wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:39 am
My mother has received a collection notice for over $2,000 from the same company (Confirmatrix Laboratory). Her urine was tested by her primary care physician in 2016 as part of a well visit. The PCP has since retired. All the info on Confirmatrix is very shady. I feel that this debt should be canceled based on the company's history and the fact that they were raided by the FBI for insurance fraud. She is requesting her attorney to send a letter to the collection agency. Her credit is exceptional and so far nothing has hit the credit reporting agencies. Good luck in your fight! I'll try to keep you updated on where she gets in this matter.
Please do keep me updated. I'll do the same. And if anyone comes along who is disputing charges which started with Confirmatrix perhaps they'll chime in or get useful information. My last 2 updates were long .

The newest: After I filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau see here https://www.consumerfinance.gov and here https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/. the collection agency responded, noting they would get back to me with answers. That was the most recent event.

Because they responded, it closed the complaint..for now. If the collection agency contacts me again, I can open a new complaint.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Nate79 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:54 am

Jackson12 wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:11 pm
In addition to the update above We also wrote that we wanted :
:
Documention proving why they think we currently owe the debt , including;
1. The name and address of the original creditor, the account number (full) used by that creditor, and the amount owed to the creditor when transferred.

2. The date when the current creditor obtained the debt and who it was obtained from.

3. Full verification and documentation that there is a valid basis for claiming that I
we are required to pay this debt to the current creditor, which would include written documents, contracts, and agreements that created our requirement to pay.

Documentation on the amount and age of debt:
1. A copy of the last billing statement sent to us by the original creditor. Copies of any communication and payments from insurance companies.

2. The amount of the debt when obtained and when that was


3. When this debt became due. When it became delinquent.

4. The date of the last payment made on this account
This is a fairly specific list. Are collection agencies/creditors legally required to provide all of this information before you are required to pay? My understanding, which could be wrong, is that they do not need to have all of this detailed information, especially when the debt has been sold to third party to still collect, report a valid debt to credit agency, get a judgment... Maybe SSN, original creditor, debt amount.

Jackson12
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:49 am

Nate79 wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:54 am
Jackson12 wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:11 pm
In addition to the update above We also wrote that we wanted :
:
Documention proving why they think we currently owe the debt , including;
1. The name and address of the original creditor, the account number (full) used by that creditor, and the amount owed to the creditor when transferred.

2. The date when the current creditor obtained the debt and who it was obtained from.

3. Full verification and documentation that there is a valid basis for claiming that I
we are required to pay this debt to the current creditor, which would include written documents, contracts, and agreements that created our requirement to pay.

Documentation on the amount and age of debt:
1. A copy of the last billing statement sent to us by the original creditor. Copies of any communication and payments from insurance companies.

2. The amount of the debt when obtained and when that was
L

3. When this debt became due. When it became delinquent.

4. The date of the last payment made on this account
This is a fairly specific list. Are collection agencies/creditors legally required to provide all of this information before you are required to pay? My understanding, which could be wrong, is that they do not need to have all of this detailed information, especially when the debt has been sold to third party to still collect, report a valid debt to credit agency, get a judgment... Maybe SSN, original creditor, debt amount.
Nate:

Here is a very detailed sample letter from the Consumer Finance Protection Agency. I'm following their lead.
https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201 ... mation.doc

Per your words "'My understanding, which could be wrong, is that they do not need to have all of this detailed information, especially when the debt has been sold to third party to still collect, report a valid debt to credit agency..." etc..the heart of the issue is that this is not a valid debt and that's why I - and others- have contacted the billing representative in our doctors' offices and/ or filing complaints.

Someone else in this thread noted that a parent was charged $2000 by Confirmatrix for a urine test. The national average is $751.

Here's another person who was affected, according to this news: story:https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories ... t-drug-lab

Here's a portion of that piece. Like this woman , my spouse's drug tests were shipped out of stare to a lab which charged far more than would a lab in our state. I learned this after the fact:
"Imagine getting an unexpected medical bill for over $1,500 that your insurance won’t cover. You can’t afford to pay it, have already missed several weeks of work due to chronic back pain, and you’re worried about losing your job.

That’s the dilemma faced by a Montana woman, one of the patients at a Great Falls pain clinic who are getting unusually large bills for urine drug testing at a laboratory over 2,000 miles away in Georgia. "

Again, I hope this info helps someone who stumbles across it and may be facing questionable medical debt. I have no problem paying for legitimate charges.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Nate79 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:03 pm

Jackson12 wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 10:49 am
Nate79 wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:54 am
Jackson12 wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:11 pm
In addition to the update above We also wrote that we wanted :
:
Documention proving why they think we currently owe the debt , including;
1. The name and address of the original creditor, the account number (full) used by that creditor, and the amount owed to the creditor when transferred.

2. The date when the current creditor obtained the debt and who it was obtained from.

3. Full verification and documentation that there is a valid basis for claiming that I
we are required to pay this debt to the current creditor, which would include written documents, contracts, and agreements that created our requirement to pay.

Documentation on the amount and age of debt:
1. A copy of the last billing statement sent to us by the original creditor. Copies of any communication and payments from insurance companies.

2. The amount of the debt when obtained and when that was
L

3. When this debt became due. When it became delinquent.

4. The date of the last payment made on this account
This is a fairly specific list. Are collection agencies/creditors legally required to provide all of this information before you are required to pay? My understanding, which could be wrong, is that they do not need to have all of this detailed information, especially when the debt has been sold to third party to still collect, report a valid debt to credit agency, get a judgment... Maybe SSN, original creditor, debt amount.
Nate:

Here is a very detailed sample letter from the Consumer Finance Protection Agency. I'm following their lead.
https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201 ... mation.doc

Per your words "'My understanding, which could be wrong, is that they do not need to have all of this detailed information, especially when the debt has been sold to third party to still collect, report a valid debt to credit agency..." etc..the heart of the issue is that this is not a valid debt and that's why I - and others- have contacted the billing representative in our doctors' offices and/ or filing complaints.

Someone else in this thread noted that a parent was charged $2000 by Confirmatrix for a urine test. The national average is $751.

Here's another person who was affected, according to this news: story:https://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories ... t-drug-lab

Here's a portion of that piece. Like this woman , my spouse's drug tests were shipped out of stare to a lab which charged far more than would a lab in our state. I learned this after the fact:
"Imagine getting an unexpected medical bill for over $1,500 that your insurance won’t cover. You can’t afford to pay it, have already missed several weeks of work due to chronic back pain, and you’re worried about losing your job.

That’s the dilemma faced by a Montana woman, one of the patients at a Great Falls pain clinic who are getting unusually large bills for urine drug testing at a laboratory over 2,000 miles away in Georgia. "

Again, I hope this info helps someone who stumbles across it and may be facing questionable medical debt. I have no problem paying for legitimate charges.
As was already pointed out by me in this thread what you describe is very commonly called balanced billing. When you get a medical service you agree to pay the charges whether your insurance covers the total cost or not and you never know what that cost will be ahead of time. If in network the provider agrees to the insurance rate, however just because a provider thinks they are in network or you are in an in network facility doesn't mean all of the people or tests inside that facility will be in network. The patient is still responsible for all charges though in some states balance billing is not legal as I understand it. I suggest you google the term balance billing. The common example is getting surgery and someone out of network assists in the surgery - you are still responsible for the charges if legal in your state whether you like it or not.

The medical/insurance billing system is just plain horrible. It seems you got caught up in a service that wasn't clear the charges, in network vs out of network, etc. This is a huge problem in the medical field right now - there are many past threads on this topic. It doesn't mean the debt is not valid and that is the problem.

According to your link the creditor may not be required to provide all of that information to you. State and federal law determines what information they are required to provide. And if they are not required to provide the information it doesn't mean they can not come after you for the debt. That was my point.

You keep calling the debt not valid. You keep saying how bad Confirmatrix is. That they charged higher than the average. None of that matters. What matters is what the contract said, who owns the debt and is the debt valid legally.

You may need legal representation according to the CFPA link you provided....

Jackson12
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Tue Mar 27, 2018 1:18 pm

Thank you.

I called the insurance company we had at the time. They are sending me records. They say the company did not send adequate billing details before we switched to another company (employer choice) .

The new insurance company was requested to pay, which was ridiculous, because we weren't with that company during the dates of service. They too are sending me records.

The second insurance company does not consider the bills acceptable or valid for them to pay. I find this reasonable. They told me to ignore collection efforts but the creditor wrote that if I don't respond within 30 days my options may be limited. .

So , to be on the safe side, I filed a complaint and sent a letter. I'll wait to hear more from the collection agency, hope I don't or they close the case, and go on from there.

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by rkasprzyk24 » Tue May 15, 2018 6:12 pm

Hi I was wondering if you figured out a solution to this issue. I am currently in the same situation with a possible 2000$ affecting my credit. I tried calling the collector and they just want me to pay it. I was hoping you could give me some guidance. Thanks!

Jackson12
Posts: 905
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:44 pm

Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Jackson12 » Tue May 15, 2018 8:43 pm

rkasprzyk24 wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:12 pm
Hi I was wondering if you figured out a solution to this issue. I am currently in the same situation with a possible 2000$ affecting my credit. I tried calling the collector and they just want me to pay it. I was hoping you could give me some guidance. Thanks!
Is the debt a valid one? If not, you have options: file a complaint ( see links in this thread) , ask for proof of debt including dates of service and original provider, contact your attorney general,etc. Gather any relevant paperwork that backs up your claims.

As for me, I haven't heard a thing since I filed my complaint back in March. For now, I'm considering that a good sign. Perhaps they would prefer to save time and money by going after people less likely to fight back. If they want to take on the challenge of tracing accounts originally owned by not only a bankrupt company but a company who ran afoul of the law, they'll have their work cut out for them.

And it's not like I didn't pay plenty to the labs and doctors. I did.

If you file a complaint you have the right to demand that the collector stops collections efforts and doesn't send a report to the credit bureau until they've provided support for their claims...as long as you file shortly after receiving a collection letter

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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by jalbert » Wed May 16, 2018 2:06 am

Watty wrote:
Fri Mar 09, 2018 6:44 pm
The first thing to do is to send them a certified letter asking for a formal debt validation letter.
That may turn out to be the second thing to do, but the first thing to do is to consult with an attorney.
Risk is not a guarantor of return.

Geet86
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Re: This is not a typical medical collections issue- what to do?

Post by Geet86 » Wed May 23, 2018 6:41 pm

Hello,

I was hoping you could provide an update on your situation. I was recently contacted by a collections agency for the same exact problem - a supposed unpaid debt from Confirmatrix from 3 years ago. My doctors office is providing no assistance. The collections agency trying to charge me over $4500, but I’m seeing nothing on my credit reports. I have almost perfect credit and am very worried this scam will ruin it. Any update you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

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