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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2005
    Posts
    2,813

    Default Getting out from under medical bills

    Help. I owe $1400 on an outpatient surgery I underwent in December with follow up the end of January. (Yes I have insurance, the balance owed is the 10% coinsurance December, the deductible for this year - which I met last month, and the 10% coinsurance plus a copay I was not informed about for January.)

    I've attempted - twice - to contact the HMO's Patient Financial Services in writing. They just tell me to call. Well, I can't call during business hours because I'm at WORK and their hold times are outrageous. Additionally, they erred on billing me last summer and sent a bill I'd paid to collection. I'd previously spoken with them on the phone about the mistake and they had no record of that call. I want to have an answer / payment plan *in writing* and they refuse to do that.

    They just made a mistake in billing me for a prescription - ran a check for a different amount than the amount for which the check was written. I sent them an email about that and they, again, said to CALL. I don't want to CALL.

    Kinda hyperventilating here on the amount that is owed.
    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    7,102

    Default

    Personally, I'd MAKE time to call during work for a $1400 bill. Every time a bill goes to collections it hurts your credit.

    There must be a time to call that's not during work. Or call during your lunch break. Or take a longer lunch break and work early/late.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 19, 2004
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,904

    Default

    Why don't you just put it on a credit card? $1400 isn't that much. I mean it is but it's not worth hyperventilating over. Calm down, it'll be ok.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,699

    Default

    contact all three credit agencies and contest the statements of the provider.

    And about the one that sent to collections demand that it is removed from your reports


    2 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    14,838

    Default

    Make the call - put the phone on speaker phone and wait all day if necessary - then stay late if your employers expect it, which I hope not.
    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 20, 2005
    Posts
    2,813

    Default

    I received letters of apology/statements last summer that no debt was owed from both the collection agency and the HMO - that's not the issue at this point. (Though i filed a complaint with the state insurance commissioner for how they handled THAT ONE.)

    i don't have a credit card. The only debt I've ever had is auto loans.

    Can't call from my work - I work with the public, do not have my own office/phone extension/voice mail, and get 1/2 hour lunch. The last time I called them, I was on hold for 20 minutes and then they got on and said they'd have to call me back. There is no option to call them after hours and leave a message asking them to leave me a detailed message. They don't take messages.
    It's a uterus, not a clown car. - Sayyedati



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan. 28, 2003
    Location
    Hollywood, but not the one where they have the Oscars!
    Posts
    7,616

    Default

    Get a credit card. This is exactly the situation they were meant for! (not living above your means, etc)
    "You can't really debate with someone who has a prescient invisible friend"
    carolprudm



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area
    Posts
    2,910

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slewdledo View Post
    I received letters of apology/statements last summer that no debt was owed from both the collection agency and the HMO - that's not the issue at this point. (Though i filed a complaint with the state insurance commissioner for how they handled THAT ONE.)

    Have you checked your credit reports to make sure that info' is in them, correcting the turnover to collections?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    7,107

    Default

    Take half a day off--take an hour off--do something to make the call, or, get a credit card and put it all on there. Clearly, they expect you to make a call so figure out how to make it happen. It sucks, but there you have it.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!


    3 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10

    Default

    send a certified letter with return receipt. Phone call won't handle anything - no proof.
    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2012
    Location
    gulf coast
    Posts
    1,073

    Default

    I'm with 'right horse' there is no record of whatever they choose say on the phone. Most co. have e-mail contacts, is that an option? If not, take off however much time you need to, and make the call. Preferably on speaker with a witness in the room. If no witness can be there, take written notes of everything said. And speak to the party you owe the $1400.00 They will hopefully work out a payment plan, and maybe a discount.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,854

    Default

    If you're not willing/able to stay on hold long enough or get a credit card--and seriously, that is what I would do, even if it meant hiring some teenager to sit there and listen to the hold music and hand me the phone when they finally had a human on the line--it sounds like you need a patient advocate to mediate between you and the insurance company.
    http://www.patientadvocate.org/help.php

    http://patients.about.com/od/caringf...t-Advocate.htm
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2012
    Posts
    154

    Default

    You need to make/take the time to call or even better GO DOWN there!

    Write down names/times/dates and let them know you are writing it all down.

    Go down there with paper and pen in hand. "And your name is what?"

    Good luck!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2006
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4,699

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by csaper58 View Post
    . And speak to the party you owe the $1400.00 They will hopefully work out a payment plan, and maybe a discount.
    If the debt has been sold to a collection agency, they cannot accept payments... but this debt, if incurred just this last Dec/Jan couldn't be sold off that quickly...if it had there is really something wrong here.

    Get a copy of the original bill and have some one with knowledge review the billing.... we have NEVER gotten a medical billing for hospital service that has been correct. Often standard expected services, if refused are billed without thought.... a pill here, something there and hundreds of dollars of charted service that did not take place have had to be removed



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    9,701

    Default

    My working Life was spent in collection of Medical bills (working for Providers).

    You need to find out the name of the Manager of Finanacial Services and speak directly to them. Don't waste your time talking to useless First Line CSRs.

    If you have to take time off work to do so, your Supervisor should be told why and should understand the need.

    You can also offer to pay a percentage of the balance due since it is a co-pay.
    Providers mark up their charges so insurance companies will pay the expected amount. They are often willing to negotiate the patient responsibility.
    If you can manage: offer 50% as PIF or request a payment plan so you can pay off the balance (asking for 6mos to do so is not unreasonable).

    And finally, as Devil's Advocate:
    They may report it to your Credit Bureau, but small balances like this rarely actually get taken to court.
    They are written off after collection fails.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009


    3 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 1999
    Location
    Shangri-LA
    Posts
    2,043

    Default

    Can you borrow the amount from a family member to pay the bill off? Take an hour off from work and take care of this. Agree with sending a registered letter but also make the call. The longer you drag this out the greater the chance of it getting turned over to a collection agency. You need to build a credit line and have a credit card for just this kind of emergency. Go to the hospital directly and ask to pay the bill on a payment plan due to financial difficulties.
    "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."
    ~Gypsy saying



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2009
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    1,878

    Default

    Would it be possible to set up a phone appointment? Can you email to get them to call you or you call them on x day at y time?



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar. 3, 2007
    Location
    North-Central IL
    Posts
    4,234

    Default

    You need to take a day off and sit down with all your paperwork and call them. If they won't do business via e-mail and snail mail there is little else you can do, I would say.
    Quarry Rat



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2011
    Posts
    978

    Default

    2DogsFarm is right. The person you reach first is probably not equipped to do anything other than read from a script. You need to get to their supervisor. Be nice about it, but be firm. When you reach a live person, briefly state your problem, and see what they say. If they say they can't help you, take down their name and say, "That's fine; then please transfer me to your supervisor." Sometimes they break down then and there; sometimes they will transfer you because their hands are tied. Don't threaten them; it's not their fault.

    I assume you are wanting to make payments on this bill?



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2007
    Location
    Rising Sun, MD
    Posts
    3,688

    Default

    Honestly if you're not worried that much about your credit- I'd ignore it. Small medical bills IF they go to collections are not a huge deal.
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain



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