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Posted: 8/13/2011 8:56:56 AM EDT
I have a bill that was originally 500. I have been paying it $100 at a time using my flexible health spending account- that deal where you can set aside money pre-taxes to pay health costs. I have been paying 100 at a time because I don't have 500 at a time and because I have to wait for the administrators of my Flexible Health Spending Account to reimburse me so I can make the next payment. This means I have to wait for the health care provider to mail me a receipt to submit for reimbursement.

On my second payment, no receipt was mailed (or received by me in the mail). I called them when it seemed like it would never get here and asked them to mail a receipt because I needed it for reimbursement to allow me to make the next payment. They mailed me a new receipt, I submitted for reimbursement, then made my third payment.

Came home last night and found a letter from a collection agency demanding payment for 200, the remaining amount. What the hell? Now I have to take the the time to assemble documentation of payments made, conversations conducted, and dates of service, to get these stupid people to recognize that I have been paying regularly per our agreement. Debt collection people stupid? No, the billing department for the health care provider. THEY fail to mail me a receipt in a timely manner, but I get referred to collections. You know what this means: I will have to straighten out TWO entities: the billing department for the health care provider AND the debt collection people. May fuck be upon them all.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 9:03:21 AM EDT
[#1]
I'll apologize in advance to anyone who works in the health care billing or insurance industries.

OP, I'm not surprised by your story.  I've never seen anyone that dealt with health care billing or insurance that was anywhere even approaching sentient, must less competent in their damn job.  Maybe the billing is too complicated for anyone to figure it out, or maybe it's such a pain that those jobs only attract fuckwits who can't work elsewhere.  In any case, I pretty much assume every medical visit will result in fucked up billing somewhere in the chain.  Missing bills, wrong totals, claims denied for improper submission by the doctor's office, etc.

ETA:  The medical provider may not even be willing to discuss this with you, now that it's been sent to collections.  The collection agency certainly won't listen to reason.  Send them a debt verification request - force them to get back in touch with the med provider and verify it.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 10:48:26 AM EDT
[#2]
I had a minor run-in with a collector once... the hospital wasn't billing to the right address but the collector had the right address!  Go figure that one out!





I told the collector in no uncertain terms that I had no legal agreement with them and would never pay them a penny.   Even if it turns out that I had some legal

obligation to them via fine print I don't recall reading,  I would STILL never pay a penny to a collection agency.   But I will (and did) pay what I owe to those

I rightfully owe it to.



Oh, they weren't happy...but they didn't call back.  
CJ


Link Posted: 8/13/2011 10:51:02 AM EDT
[#3]
I would see if you can pay the original company. Try not to give the collection agency any info yet.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 10:55:44 AM EDT
[#4]
Same thing happened to me, OP. They were trying to collect a bill that I had never received any copy of. (Idiots.)



Do not contact any collection agency.




Get in touch with the hospital and go from there.







Good luck! I'm sure everything will be all right.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 11:52:25 AM EDT
[#5]
Are you sure it's a collection agency and not just the hospitals "collections" department?  I doubt they have sold you off to a collection agency this quickly so it should be easy to work out a payment plan with the hospital.  Prior issues aside I would go to their collections dept in person and work it out.  
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 11:58:13 AM EDT
[#6]
What were the payment terms you signed when you received care?



Just because you only want to pay them through your FSA doesn't mean they have to wait to be paid.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 12:17:53 PM EDT
[#7]
Quoted:
Are you sure it's a collection agency and not just the hospitals "collections" department?  I doubt they have sold you off to a collection agency this quickly so it should be easy to work out a payment plan with the hospital.  Prior issues aside I would go to their collections dept in person and work it out.  



This is what probably happened. I doubt paying $100 a month on a $500 bill they would turn you over.

I wouldn't have!
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 12:22:36 PM EDT
[#8]
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 12:29:10 PM EDT
[#9]
Here's what can happen - you pay the amount the health care provider pays because your insurance for some reason screws it up.
The insurance may later on pay the bill at a much less rate than what you paid because of their contract.
Try getting paid back the difference from the health care provider.
Short of filing a law suit, you won't even get an explanation as to why they won't pay you back.
I had hell for two years over an insurance screw up, including being billed for services I never received.
Once the insurance refused to pay, the healthcare provider started adding services to the bill I never received.
I refused to pay other than what my insurance was originally obligated to pay and did.
The whole situation was not my fault but I had collection agencies after me for three years.
My credit took a whack from 790+ down to 680 with an huge increase in home and car insurance.
I became a "credit risk" even though I filed one form after another with the credit agencies and the credit collection agencies.
I have a fairly large savings and large IRAs, own lots of property outright and owe very little other than monthly credit card bills. But I still took a hit over some relatively nickel and dime bills that totaled less than $80 when I finally got worn down.
Pay your bills a little bit at a time and tell them you are working on paying it out.
If they insist it must be paid NOW, tell them you will pay a much less amount than originally billed and that is all you can afford.
They will negotiate unless they think they can get more money out of you.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 12:42:35 PM EDT
[#10]
In before somebody says you have an "entitlement mentality" for expecting time to pay.

Edit: Never mind, I see somebody already has. Must be nice to be perfect.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 12:48:51 PM EDT
[#11]




Quoted:

I have a bill that was originally 500. I have been paying it $100 at a time using my flexible health spending account- that deal where you can set aside money pre-taxes to pay health costs. I have been paying 100 at a time because I don't have 500 at a time and because I have to wait for the administrators of my Flexible Health Spending Account to reimburse me so I can make the next payment. This means I have to wait for the health care provider to mail me a receipt to submit for reimbursement.



On my second payment, no receipt was mailed (or received by me in the mail). I called them when it seemed like it would never get here and asked them to mail a receipt because I needed it for reimbursement to allow me to make the next payment. They mailed me a new receipt, I submitted for reimbursement, then made my third payment.



Came home last night and found a letter from a collection agency demanding payment for 200, the remaining amount. What the hell? Now I have to take the the time to assemble documentation of payments made, conversations conducted, and dates of service, to get these stupid people to recognize that I have been paying regularly per our agreement. Debt collection people stupid? No, the billing department for the health care provider. THEY fail to mail me a receipt in a timely manner, but I get referred to collections. You know what this means: I will have to straighten out TWO entities: the billing department for the health care provider AND the debt collection people. May fuck be upon them all.




Dude....it's 200 dollars. You seriously can't come up with 200 bucks? Don't you work?



I'm just sayin'....
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 1:02:52 PM EDT
[#12]
Keep paying the medical provider per the terms of your original agreement.  Call them to verify.

Errors happen all the time and I have received three or fourdifferent letters from various providers that my bill was going to collections, and one of them was already paid in full.

Make certain the collections agency hasn't messed with your credit.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 1:03:03 PM EDT
[#13]
Sounds like after 3 months of paying installments, your account tripped the 90-day cut-off and was sent to collections automatically with the remaining balance of $200 being 90 days past-due.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 1:52:49 PM EDT
[#14]
Quoted:
I will be honest and admit that I learned something about this only a couple of years ago.

Hospitals and doctors "used to" just accept any amount regularly paid on a bill as okay.  Then one day, they woke up and realized that they are not banks.  They are not in the business of making loans.

You owe them a certain amount.  If you don't have it, make a loan with a bank or credit union and pay them off and then pay the notes to the bank.

Hospitals did not sign an agreement to loan you money.  That's why it went to a collection agency.

You might not like that answer, but there it is.



Wow, Old Painless, presumptuous much? I signed a payment agreement with them of one hundred dollars a month; They agreed to provide receipts. They dropped the ball. Not me.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 1:56:53 PM EDT
[#15]



Quoted:



Quoted:

I will be honest and admit that I learned something about this only a couple of years ago.



Hospitals and doctors "used to" just accept any amount regularly paid on a bill as okay.  Then one day, they woke up and realized that they are not banks.  They are not in the business of making loans.



You owe them a certain amount.  If you don't have it, make a loan with a bank or credit union and pay them off and then pay the notes to the bank.



Hospitals did not sign an agreement to loan you money.  That's why it went to a collection agency.



You might not like that answer, but there it is.







Wow, Old Painless, presumptuous much? I signed a payment agreement with them of one hundred dollars a month; They agreed to provide receipts. They dropped the ball. Not me.


Does the agreement say that you don't have to make the next payment until you receive the prior payment's receipt?



 
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 1:58:29 PM EDT
[#16]
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 1:59:42 PM EDT
[#17]
Every few years I receive a call from XYZ collections.Telling me I owe "Them" $200 for a bill I payed for in cash with a written receipt from over 10 years agoAfter I moved (10 yeas ago)the receipt has and will be long gone lost/thrown away in the move.So every time they call I reiterate the fact the bill was payed for in cash to the receptionist/clerk and a receipt/copy was written.They then go on to tell me I need to send them a copy of my receipt."NO,The company that has serviced YOU to collect needs to provide YOU with the receipt.MY end has been done.Now you two need to work for/with each other, which is what they get payed to do.Not me!"By them calling me constitutes harassment.They are fucking assholes......
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:01:34 PM EDT
[#18]
I paid off all my medical bills last year. 100% paid. Any late charges there might have been were also paid. I owe nobody money. Yet I'm still getting calls from collection agencies about those bills. The hospital and doctors claim to have no idea why these guys are involved at all, especially now. So don't expect them to leave you alone just because you're making payments - if they don't stop when the bills are paid, they're not going to stop if they have a chance to bully you.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:03:38 PM EDT
[#19]
Quoted:
I paid off all my medical bills last year. 100% paid. Any late charges there might have been were also paid. I owe nobody money. Yet I'm still getting calls from collection agencies about those bills. The hospital and doctors claim to have no idea why these guys are involved at all, especially now. So don't expect them to leave you alone just because you're making payments - if they don't stop when the bills are paid, they're not going to stop if they have a chance to bully you.


YUP
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:12:50 PM EDT
[#20]
Quoted:

Quoted:
I have a bill that was originally 500. I have been paying it $100 at a time using my flexible health spending account- that deal where you can set aside money pre-taxes to pay health costs. I have been paying 100 at a time because I don't have 500 at a time and because I have to wait for the administrators of my Flexible Health Spending Account to reimburse me so I can make the next payment. This means I have to wait for the health care provider to mail me a receipt to submit for reimbursement.

On my second payment, no receipt was mailed (or received by me in the mail). I called them when it seemed like it would never get here and asked them to mail a receipt because I needed it for reimbursement to allow me to make the next payment. They mailed me a new receipt, I submitted for reimbursement, then made my third payment.

Came home last night and found a letter from a collection agency demanding payment for 200, the remaining amount. What the hell? Now I have to take the the time to assemble documentation of payments made, conversations conducted, and dates of service, to get these stupid people to recognize that I have been paying regularly per our agreement. Debt collection people stupid? No, the billing department for the health care provider. THEY fail to mail me a receipt in a timely manner, but I get referred to collections. You know what this means: I will have to straighten out TWO entities: the billing department for the health care provider AND the debt collection people. May fuck be upon them all.


Dude....it's 200 dollars. You seriously can't come up with 200 bucks? Don't you work?
I'm just sayin'....


Dude. I'm a girl. Second, yes, I work. I work my ass off, thank you very much. I work in a city 49 miles away from me, in a professional job not locally available, for decent wages that requires a degree that I am paying off student loans for, in a car I am paying a note on, to let me get to the job that I went to school to be qualified enough to get, so that I could support myself and my family in spite of this shitty chronic condition that might someday or tomorrow put me in a wheelchair and/or kill me. So not only do I get to pay the usual bills, I get the medical bills too. Have you eyeballed a medical bill lately? There is no guarantee that treatment will keep me functioning, but there is every indication that lack of it may cause the aforementioned side effects to be a possibility.

I work when I feel like crap because that is what responsible adults do. Goddamnit, what the fuck is up with you people pointing fingers all the fucking time? Have any of you EVER encountered adversity or a situation where you had to do the best you could because you simply weren't Bill Fucking Gates right then and there? I know it could be worse- and I thank God it's not. Yet. I have a limited amount of resources but I direct them where they are needed and at the time I have agreed to do so. I don't have an AR collection; I don't even have much beyond jeans for my wardrobe, I don't get manicures, shopping trips, brand name foods, tripos to the movies- hell the last thing I did was a concert and that was because I won the tickets on the air.

Get off your high horse.

Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:16:34 PM EDT
[#21]
Hmmmmm  I just heard somewhere that the Gov. has determined that if you get a bill/debt reduced, then you will have to pay income tax on the amount the bill was reduced because they then consider that reduction amount "income".
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:19:40 PM EDT
[#22]
If you only have two months to go to pay it off, I'd just ignore the collection agency and continue to pay the hospital.  By the time the collection agency got around to doing anything beyond phone calls and letters, the debt will have been paid.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:20:06 PM EDT
[#23]
Quoted:

Dude. I'm a girl. Second, yes, I work. I work my ass off, thank you very much. I work in a city 49 miles away from me, in a professional job not locally available, for decent wages that requires a degree that I am paying off student loans for, in a car I am paying a note on, to let me get to the job that I went to school to be qualified enough to get, so that I could support myself and my family in spite of this shitty chronic condition that might someday or tomorrow put me in a wheelchair and/or kill me. So not only do I get to pay the usual bills, I get the medical bills too. Have you eyeballed a medical bill lately? There is no guarantee that treatment will keep me functioning, but there is every indication that lack of it may cause the aforementioned side effects to be a possibility.

I work when I feel like crap because that is what responsible adults do. Goddamnit, what the fuck is up with you people pointing fingers all the fucking time? Have any of you EVER encountered adversity or a situation where you had to do the best you could because you simply weren't Bill Fucking Gates right then and there? I know it could be worse- and I thank God it's not. Yet. I have a limited amount of resources but I direct them where they are needed and at the time I have agreed to do so. I don't have an AR collection; I don't even have much beyond jeans for my wardrobe, I don't get manicures, shopping trips, brand name foods, tripos to the movies- hell the last thing I did was a concert and that was because I won the tickets on the air.

Get off your high horse.



I'm sitting here applauding you.  Many on a high horse will find that horse is no longer under them if things keep going downhill in this country.

Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:21:09 PM EDT
[#24]
You got caught by the system.

The way it works, they agree to let you pay a set amount over time (interest free, natch!), and in return you promise to pay every payment on time.

Your agreement will have language to the effect of if you're late with a payment, the whole thing is due immediately.  You didn't get the statement (thanks, USPS!), and even though you called and paid, you were probably late.

The provider probably has their billing system set to dump you on collections if you're late.  They're tired of all the deadbeats and it's easier for them to just sell your bill to a collection agency for pennies on the dollar than it is for them to actually call you and find out what's up.

Now you have to prove that the late payment was not out of bad faith, but rather because the mailman screwed the pooch.  It's a pain in the ass.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:23:02 PM EDT
[#25]
Quoted:
I will be honest and admit that I learned something about this only a couple of years ago.

Hospitals and doctors "used to" just accept any amount regularly paid on a bill as okay.  Then one day, they woke up and realized that they are not banks.  They are not in the business of making loans.

You owe them a certain amount.  If you don't have it, make a loan with a bank or credit union and pay them off and then pay the notes to the bank.

Hospitals did not sign an agreement to loan you money.  That's why it went to a collection agency.

You might not like that answer, but there it is.



They can have $100 a month, or they can have $0 a month. Their choice. She doesn't have the full amount, and only a fool would borrow their way out of an unsecured debt.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:27:50 PM EDT
[#26]
fuck collection agencies...crooks,

i got overpaid for two months of unemployment...the state never told me this, considering i called and cut it off on time when i found a job...now its my fault a year later and
the collections people want almost twice the money back...told the state id give them the principle back and not a penny more sense they never contacted me about a mistake...fuck them all, ill dispute it
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:29:28 PM EDT
[#27]
Quoted:
Hmmmmm  I just heard somewhere that the Gov. has determined that if you get a bill/debt reduced, then you will have to pay income tax on the amount the bill was reduced because they then consider that reduction amount "income".


Yep. The service provider will claim the difference against their income. Sooooooooo, the government will want you to pick up the slack.

Duh. If you had the money in the first place, you'd have paid the bill!

The feds have a way of squeezing blood from a turnip.

Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:30:44 PM EDT
[#28]
Just send the bill to 0bama, he'll take care of it for you
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:36:41 PM EDT
[#29]



Quoted:



Came home last night and found a letter from a collection agency demanding payment for 200, the remaining amount. What the hell?


Standard Operating Procedure these days, I'm afraid.



Make payments, as agreed and on time, they call and harass with threats of collections anyway.



I've had about enough of it.



 
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:41:40 PM EDT
[#30]
Quoted:

Quoted:

Came home last night and found a letter from a collection agency demanding payment for 200, the remaining amount. What the hell?

Standard Operating Procedure these days, I'm afraid.

Make payments, as agreed and on time, they call and harass with threats of collections anyway.

I've had about enough of it.
 


Google Voice.  They can call all they want, they will never get through.  You can even leave them a custom message.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:52:31 PM EDT
[#31]
Quoted:
Quoted:

Dude. I'm a girl. Second, yes, I work. I work my ass off, thank you very much. I work in a city 49 miles away from me, in a professional job not locally available, for decent wages that requires a degree that I am paying off student loans for, in a car I am paying a note on, to let me get to the job that I went to school to be qualified enough to get, so that I could support myself and my family in spite of this shitty chronic condition that might someday or tomorrow put me in a wheelchair and/or kill me. So not only do I get to pay the usual bills, I get the medical bills too. Have you eyeballed a medical bill lately? There is no guarantee that treatment will keep me functioning, but there is every indication that lack of it may cause the aforementioned side effects to be a possibility.

I work when I feel like crap because that is what responsible adults do. Goddamnit, what the fuck is up with you people pointing fingers all the fucking time? Have any of you EVER encountered adversity or a situation where you had to do the best you could because you simply weren't Bill Fucking Gates right then and there? I know it could be worse- and I thank God it's not. Yet. I have a limited amount of resources but I direct them where they are needed and at the time I have agreed to do so. I don't have an AR collection; I don't even have much beyond jeans for my wardrobe, I don't get manicures, shopping trips, brand name foods, tripos to the movies- hell the last thing I did was a concert and that was because I won the tickets on the air.

Get off your high horse.



Same here. GD's full of these fuckers looking to turn a thread into an "I'm better than you" circle jerk.



I'm sitting here applauding you.  Many on a high horse will find that horse is no longer under them if things keep going downhill in this country.



Link Posted: 8/13/2011 2:59:53 PM EDT
[#32]
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 3:01:13 PM EDT
[#33]
Quoted:
In before somebody says you have an "entitlement mentality" for expecting time to pay.

Edit: Never mind, I see somebody already has. Must be nice to be perfect.


What's your deal?  The people that pay over time without having an agreement to delay payment are stealing from the ones they owe the money to.
I don't have to be perfect to know that.

I assume you wouldn't be OK with your work holding a paycheck for 4 months because they have a cash-flow problem?
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 3:03:53 PM EDT
[#34]
I question your understanding of  how flex spending works. Flex spending pays the bill in full, even if it is more than you have contributed for the year so far. Then, whatever you put in for the rest of the year covers the balance.

For instance: You are going to set aside $1200 for the year. In April you break your arm and have to pay $1000. Flex spending would pay the $1000, even though you have only deposited $400. You'd make up the balance throughout the year.

Link Posted: 8/13/2011 3:07:23 PM EDT
[#35]
I have represented hospitals and dealt with collection offices.

Errors are made all the time.  

Hospitals generally can recall a collection from the outside agency under a variety of circumstances.

Always document in writing.  A phone call is worthless.  When you document, send a copy to everyone with whom you have dealt and indicate the people in a cc at the bottom.  If you cannot figure out how to write a business letter, learn how to do so.  It saves a lot of grief.  NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO BE DISCIPLINED IF YOU DO NOT DOCUMENT.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 3:30:32 PM EDT
[#36]
I have come to hate all the health care systems, as well as collection companies.
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 4:03:26 PM EDT
[#37]
I feel your frustration. I detest dealing with billing offices. Two years ago I received a bill from a local hospital for my daughter's lab work. The thing is, she didn't have any lab work done. I tracked the problem down to a local pediatrician she saw when she was a year old - 13 years ago! So I called the Dr.'s office and they had another child with the same name and they sent my kids info to billing instead of that kid's info. No problem, they said.

A year goes by and I get another bill. I call the Dr. again, go through the whole story and I get a personal guarantee from all involved that it is now fixed.

Two weeks ago I got a bill from a collection agency. Of course it's not their fault, they just go with what the hospital sends, and the hospital just goes with what the Dr sends them. So I go through the whole thing one more time. I dealt with a nice lady in the hospital billing dept. who immediately saw discrepancies in the paperwork and could tell that it wasn't my kid that was seen. It would be handled pronto, I was told, and they were so sorry for the trouble.

I called the collection agency yesterday. Do I need to even finish the story? I'm not one to run around suing people. I much prefer to give everyone a chance to fix honest mistakes but I am so pissed right now because my excellent credit rating is about to get dinged that I want to cause aggravation for someone else. I am about to turn it up a notch, probably with a letter from my attorney to get some attention, but I honestly don't have time for this shit. What pisses me off the most is that if this happened at my office I would stop what I was doing, fix the problem and confirm it was fixed. I do it all the time. Why can't anyone else?
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 4:04:32 PM EDT
[#38]
Link Posted: 8/13/2011 6:02:08 PM EDT
[#39]
Paperwork problems with medical billing departments.That is sooooo common.... back when I was a kid and my father was employed by the SPRR and was covered by Travelers....they were billed three times and paid the bills all three times for the same procedure while my father was receiving collections notices for said procedure. The funny thing is he had to fight with Travelers over some lesser bills for months to even get them to pay it all the while he was getting notices for the hospital threatening him with getting sent to collections.

My father and mother had two insurance plans (through their employers basically they were covered x2) if the Primary did cover the medical bill the secondary was supposed to be billed before my parents were to receive a bill, frequently my parents would receive bills from various hospitals or doctors offices that were never filed with EITHER INSURANCE Companies before they started getting letters.

Medical bureaucracies can rival the FEDgov on occasion.
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