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So I have unknowingly landed myself with a bill in collections.  Never done that before and it'll probably crunch my credit score (at least certain necessary things are already approved).  It's strange though...

 

the bill is for $100 from when I was in the ER on 1/31/16.  This is weird for a few reasons (though I don't believe it's fraudulent, just strange).  First, it seems awfully quick for such a small amount.  I recognize its about four months, but I don't remember ever seeing a bill because I thought my $100 for an ER visit was a one time deductible (and therefore already met) instead of $100 per incident (which I recognize is still good).  Even if they did actually send it to me, I can't imagine I have missed multiple attempts.  I feel like it would have their name in the sender category so I'd realize it might be a bill.  And I can't imagine they would send it once and then give up.  second, the collections agency has the wrong city and zip code for me--it made it to me because someone successfully rerouted it, but what if the hospital also had the wrong address?  

So I don't know how to undo the damage (beyond paying it which I plan to do).  Anyone know?  I'm too embarrassed too ask friends or family and don't know whether Google is trustworthy on a financial question.  Admittedly a board full of crazy people like myself is potentially also not, but I thought someone might have also had this happen (or work in billing or collections?).

 

i have called the billing company for the hospital because I'd honestly rather pay them directly than some crappy collections company. It might be too late for that though. But I also kind of want to see if they had the wrong city and zip and if so, whether that impacts this at all.  It seems like it should._

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Thanks--I forgot there would be law on this.  Duh.  I'll look that one up.

 

i know it's the right amount because I checked my deductible, health insurance policy, and health insurance statement from that visit  (which I didn't initially read because of the whole thinking it was a one time thing).  Unless they also charge interest, but I can't believe it would be that much?

 

but yes, the general sleeziness of debt collection agencies is why I really have no interest in paying them and would rather pay the hospital directly since they were the one who provided the (good) services.  I know they've technically been paid something by the collections agency, but they deserve the full value if I'm going to be stuck paying it anyway.

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FWIW ... Is there a chance that if you pay it now to get collections people to stop bothering you, then after that you can ask questions everywhere ... call the hospital, call your insurance company directly, etc (I can't think of other places but I think there are some), and you prove you were right (that you did not have to pay it), could you get the money back?  Idk how, or if this is possible, but thought it could/might work.  It is something I would look into, anyway.

Do you have any other insurances you are on? Medicare, Medicaid?  (I'm sorry I am assuming this ... only because in my state (MA) I have these insurances and have never had a $100 ER co-pay, therefore thinking you had other insurance that has a $100  co-pay.  I'm sorry though if I was wrong).  If you do have these insurances though, I would definitely call them about it.

I think water has a good idea about the Fair Debt Collection Act, and looking into it.

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The weird thing is they aren't harassing me about it.  I just got the one letter in the mail that was to the wrong address that happened to get routed my way.  No phone calls repeatedly or anything.  They're reported to be obnoxious and harassing (I googled them online) and they've strangely not been.  Maybe just because of the smaller amount than what they normally have for hospital bills.

So I definitely do need to pay it (I know it's the insurance amount due),--I have private insurance through my work (and nothing secondary), so it's a flat $100 per ER visit.  On the other hand, they covered absolutely everything from the ER visit this time (over $3000) and the first time (over $6000 - post bad car accident, so expensive scans from head to toe and lots of people treating me).  it's just whether I can pay it to the hospital instead of them.  As of now, I can wait until tomorrow morning to sort it out because it's not like they are bothering me.  If the hospital tells me I can pay them, I can see if they have an automated or phone number and also get some sort of confirmation that they're killing it with the collections agency.  If I can't (which does seem more likely) then I'd pay the collections people. 

I will looking into the FDCA, particularly for if they cover whether you can pay the original instead of the collections people.  And if there's a way to get it off your credit report if they sent the prior bill to the wrong address and it never reached you (I really don't think it did). 

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If the hospital tells me I can pay them, I can see if they have an automated or phone number and also get some sort of confirmation that they're killing it with the collections agency.  If I can't (which does seem more likely) then I'd pay the collections people. 

^^ I think this is a good idea.

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I hate getting these calls and after my insurance fiasco got calls and calls and calls.  I decided #1 that not just picking up the phone is bad.  For me its the Devil I know.  What do they want?   Debts in general are satisfied if you make some kind of payment.   Like dispute it if your wronged.   And explain what your doing.  Talking to the hospital.  Your Lawyer or whatever then make a good faith payment.  On big bills of thousands of dollars sending them $25 has the remarkable effect of getting them to not keep calling.  Then a month later tell them whats going on and make another Token. 

Having dealt with this don't panic on being able to pile more debt up to the ceiling.   A lot like people with poor debt.  They can charge "Late Fees"

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Thank heavens for good hospital administrators (and thank goodness I checked).  The person I got pulled up my account and realized it was the wrong city and zip before I ever told her that.  She corrected it and said she would send a new bill in the mail.  I asked her if it was still an option for me to pay them instead of some sleezy collections agency and she laughed and said she would double check.  She said that it shouldn't have gone to collections in the first place since I didn't get the notification, so they should be required to find some way to undo it.  I didn't even have to suggest it.  She also gave me her name (before I asked) in case I didn't get anything follow up wise.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/13/2016 at 3:37 PM, dancesintherain said:

Thank heavens for good hospital administrators (and thank goodness I checked).  The person I got pulled up my account and realized it was the wrong city and zip before I ever told her that.  She corrected it and said she would send a new bill in the mail.  I asked her if it was still an option for me to pay them instead of some sleezy collections agency and she laughed and said she would double check.  She said that it shouldn't have gone to collections in the first place since I didn't get the notification, so they should be required to find some way to undo it.  I didn't even have to suggest it.  She also gave me her name (before I asked) in case I didn't get anything follow up wise.

Has anything come of this since last posting?

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