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debt collection

mom60mom60 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
edited March 2010 in Parent Cafe
My D got a letter from a collection agency for a medical bill for the emergency room physician from a visit 2 yrs ago. We have no record of ever getting the original bill. Hospital bill was paid in full at the time.
The bill is for $65. The letter states she can settle for 40% of this amount. My natural instinct is to just pay the $65. Or should I pay 40%? I did some internet searching on debt collection and it is quite detailed. But it is targeted at people who owe lots of money. It talks about not sending a personal check and making sure it is taken off the credit report. Is it taken off the credit report differently if we pay 40%? Also does she have to contact the debt collection to make sure they remove it?
For such a small amount is it a mistake to just fill out the payment stub and send a personal check for the amount of the bill and forget about it? Otherwise she has no debt.
Post edited by mom60 on
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Replies to: debt collection

  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    If $65 is what was owed then that's what should be paid regardless of what they say they'll setlle for IMO. It's the right thing to do. I'd also contact the doctor's office, explain that this was some kind of missing paperwork issue as opposed to an inability to pay (with need for a settlement amount), and apologize for any inconvenience and request that they remove any negative reportings to the credit agencies.

    Edited to ask - would you pay this to the doctor's office or to the collection agency? It might make a difference as to the amount you should pay. Again, contact the doctor's office and discuss it.
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    We have decided to send the full payment to the collection agency with notation that by cashing the check they are acknowledging the debt was paid in full. It would be paid to the collection agency.
    I went back online through the health insurance record and it looks like the bill was at sent to the insurance company and they received payment from Blue Cross for the insurance company portion. We never got a bill from this Dr and all the bills from this hospitalization were sent to our home address. It looks like it was a separate bill for the Dr who saw her in the emergency room. If we had received the bill two years ago from the Dr we would have paid it in full as we did all the other bills that resulted from that hospitalization.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Posts: 3,344Registered User Senior Member
    When a debt is at a collection agency, the hospital already sold the debt to them. By paying the full amount, you are just giving the debt collection agency a huge profit. The money does not go to the hospital and they do not record that you paid the debt in full when you pay the agency. They only record, to the credit agencies, that the debt was not paid and went to collection. Check your credit report and file an addendum stating you paid in full.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,551Registered User Senior Member
    We just got one of those a several months ago connected to a hospital visit two years ago with my son. Small amount around $50. I called the physician's office (again a doc connected to the hospital) and they confirmed to me that I had indeed paid the bill. I didn't prob to find out why a collection agency had the claim. They called the collection agency for me. My husband got one from a gas bill at a rental property last year and a tenant who left an unpaid bill which the gas company reverted to us. Again a small amount. He went to the gas company and paid the bill and the gas company called the collection agency. My advice is to go to the original source and make sure you didn't pay it first of all, pay them and ask them to call the collection agency. That worked in both these instances for us. In both cases neither of those hit our credit report.
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    I hadn't thought to go back through our records to see if we got a bill and paid it.Will have to check that Monday am. By a google search I am not finding the dr listed on the internet anywhere. I can probably also get a number from Blue Cross or by calling the hospital.This was a hospitalization across the country from us and in a community my D doesn't live. I am just assuming it is on her credit report. I will also check that Monday when I get to work.
    If she pays the collection agency will it show on her credit report that the bill was paid?
    I doubt I am going to be able to get my D to do the work to find out the number of the dr, pay them and make sure they call the collection agency and that it gets removed. She will want to take the path of least resistance and if that means paying the debt collection agency she will do it.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,551Registered User Senior Member
    ^^the collection agency wouldn't even talk to me about my son's bill since he is "now" 21. He was 18 or 19 when he was hospitalized. Ticked me off. I was originally going to toss the collection agency letter into the garbage but then realized it could impact my son's credit so I thought better of that. I'm the primary on the insurance ya da ya da. It was tons easier to call the physician's office and they had no problem talking to me. If your D is not 21 the collection agency should be able to give you the formal name of the physician's office and other info over the phone...it may not have anything to do with the doctor's name these days. When my husband got the gas one we had no idea which apartment it was for and they were able to give us the address and the unit number so we could track it down. Our physician group has a legal name that sounds like it could be a real estate company or an apartment complex!
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    momofthreeboys- no one is probably going to want to talk to me. She is over 21. Hospitalization was at age 20. Our insurance company will not give me any information on her bills even though it is my policy and she is a dependent and I pay the premium and they send me the EOB's.
    I think this Dr doesn't have an office where he see's patients. I think it is a Dr or group of Dr's who are contracted to work in the ER. They probably only have a billing service.I know my D has no clue as to who she saw.
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    This is a reason to also remind your kids that if they go to any Dr or hospital they should only give their home address. Bills are often sent months after the kids have gone home for the summer and are often not forwarded. And in the case of a hospitalization you can't know how many odd bills you get. Bills that you would have no way of knowing about.
  • Beil1958Beil1958 Posts: 583Registered User Member
    As others have mentioned, make sure the bill is legit. I have also known of cases where the bill had long since been paid and somebody (the collection agency??) made a "mistake". If the bill is valid, I'd send the money directly to the doc's office and have them call off the dogs!
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 37,018Registered User Senior Member
    We had an odd experience and perhaps this is what happened to you too. DD was seen in the ER. It was submitted to insurance and WE got a check for it. Turns out the ER doctor was not a participant in Anthem BC/BS. Now the hospital was...but the doctor was NOT. I politely called Anthem and told them that they needed to pay the balance of the bill (they didn't pay in full because it was an out of network doctor)....because when folks go to the ER...they do NOT get to choose their doctors...or ask if they are participants in Anthem (or whatever insurance they have). They paid.

    NOW...the bill got mailed to my daughter's college address. Luckily she is very organized and sent it immediately to me here for payment. Oddly, she does not recall giving them her college address for billing purposes. But then...she also knows she gave them the correct Anthem number and the first time they submitted it with numbers all jumbled (and yes..they made a copy of her card at the ER too). Unbelievable.
  • mom60mom60 Posts: 5,620Registered User Senior Member
    The bill is legit. I just don't know yet if we paid it. By going back through my insurance records online I can see the bill being processed by the insurance company and the portion owed by us is the exact same amount as the collection bill. The bill is in the name of BLANK Emergency Physicians. This was a 6 day hospital stay so the total bills were huge. 66 dollars and 93 cents owed seems like a ridiculous amount to damage your credit over.I know if we got a bill we would have paid it. I am assuming the emergency room dr got the billing address from the hospital. We got the hospital bill without a problem.
    Thumper- we have a co-pay. Anthem did pay BLANK Emergency Physicians over $400.
  • limabeanslimabeans Posts: 4,745Registered User Senior Member
    There have been times when our hospital bills haven't been paid on time. (Once b/c they assumed son didn't have insurance, so the hospital never sent the bill to our insurance.) When I've gotten the collector looking for the money, I contact the hospital directly and pay them directly. Do not pay the debt collector.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Posts: 11,551Registered User Senior Member
    ^^GRRR I really hate HIPPA. Anyway, maybe call the hospital billing department to get the phone number for the physician's group, I bet the hospital billing office will give it to you. They are about the only people that would talk to me when my son had an ER trip early in his college years.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 37,018Registered User Senior Member
    mom60....look through your old checks and your EOB's from Anthem.

    Those places DO make mistakes. We got a bill a year after a hospitalization for one of us...we HAD paid the bills...and had the bank statement with canceled check to prove it.

    When we have these issue, we keep ALL of the Anthem statements until we can reconcile them with bills.

    In our state, if it's in state claims and they are paid in full...we don't even GET a statement from Anthem and that really annoys me. I like to make sure the bills have been paid by them. Usually no news is good news...unless there is a billing error.
  • HImomHImom Posts: 18,531Registered User Senior Member
    We received a bill after our D turned 2 for her BIRTH! We asked for an itemization, since when S was born two years before that, the only thing we had to pay for was the outfit for the dad to wear & we brought that unused for him to wear when D was born (never did use it the 1st time around). They said they didn't have the info in their database & to please disregard the bill. They couldn't explain why it suddenly popped up so long after D's birth--weird!

    I would agree that it would be good to contact the original doc or hospital about how to get the bill paid, so they'd get the $$ instead of the collection agency & keep it off the credit record. I find HIPPA really an irritating barrier to care & getting things accomplished.
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