DR never filed with my insurance- help?!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2006
DR never filed with my insurance- help?!
18
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 1:16pm

Sorry I couldn't come up with a logical title that fit in the allowed space! I just recently got 2 bills in the mail: one from the week before and one from the month after Luke's birth....so about 18 months old. One of the bills was from the middleman patient account company that handles the DR office charges and the other (month older) bill was from a collection agency. I've never EVER dealt with a collection agency and it's stressing me out!

Anyways, after several calls to both it turns out that the reason I'm having to pay about $300 is neither of those claims were ever filed with insurance. The patient account services told me they could refile but the collections agency said that since it's over a year old they can't. Anyone have any experience in this?? I'm SO frustrated because I called the DRs back in November and asked them for a total so I paid off everything I thought I owed them. I never got a bill for either of these charges that I remember....NOTHING for over the last year, until these two bills. The collections agency basically said, of course, too bad for you- you should have kept closer track of what you were charged and made sure you had receipts for everything. Right! My DRs office is affiliated with a hospital and I never know the who, what, when, and where of my charges. Y'all know how confusing pre-natal billing is. It's not like I simply went in for 1 DR. appt, I had charges from the DRs office every 3 days, and most of them had insurance filed for them. Not to mention I had Luke a week later. What lady recovering from surgery and with a baby in NICU is thumbing through their daily mail??

Ok, I guess this was mostly a vent as I know I'm the one responsible for it in the end and I should have been more vigilant. Any one have suggestions for who I should take this up with?? I feel like the DRs should have some responsibility in this because they told me I was paid up in November and I've haven't heard anything about this debt until now! They could have at least mailed me something before the year deadline to re-file was up. Unfortunately the debt has basically be turned over to 2 different middle men so I don't know...I'm thinking about just paying the $300 to get it over with but it's about the principle because I've already paid thousands for Luke's birth and I don't owe it!! Advice, anyone BTDT??

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-1999
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 2:26pm

Call your insurance company and see what they suggest. Maybe they have an easy answer for you. Call the billing office for the dr where the collection agency is billing you for. See if they will be any help at all and if they are willing to take the account back from the collection agency.

I hope something works out for you. I have had random accounts with collections in the past and I always had better luck dealing with the original business rather than the collection agency.

Once you get everything worked out, order credit reports and dispute the collections. Hopefully that will get them removed.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2006
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 2:42pm

I didn't realize accounts can be taken back from collections, that's good to know! My DRs office is impossible to deal with because it's so large (at a teaching hospital) that you just get passed around and no one knows anything. I guess I'm scared to call insurance because I don't feel like they really work for me and they're probably looking for any reason to deny my claim...Call me pessimistic! I guess I want to hear some BTDT stories about what has worked for others. Thanks for your reply, I think you're right that I should wait to deal with the collections agency, they told me when I called that they had suspended my account from effecting my credit until I got some things figured out but who knows what that really means.... Thanks again Holly!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-1999
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 3:44pm
No, definitely call your insurance company right away so they can help you, especially if the other companies aren't being much help. Good Luck!
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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2005
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 4:11pm

I had a similar situation but with a much longer interval than yours. I suddenly got collections notices in the mail from a doctor's office 300 miles away that I had never heard of. It turned out to be the doctor my ped practiced under before opening his own practice. He had since moved to another city and apparently was looking for some cash flow and found all his old unpaids and turned them over to debt collection. In my case our insurance company had gone out of business, and because of the time elapsed, the move, and it actually being a different doctor, the collections agency ended up dismissing the debt.

In the meantime, I found out a few things. Call the doctor's office and complain, repeatedly if necessary. Also put it in writing and send it in to them. It's the old adage of the squeaky wheel gets the grease. They can dismiss charges if they want to, or at least reduce them.

Also contact your insurance promptly. You aren't the only person this has happened to, so they are sometimes willing to work something out even with a long delay.

If insurance won't pay, you can offer the doctor's office half the amount if you pay right now. Often they'll take the sure thing over thinking they may not get paid.

As far as medical collections, if you're paying anything on it they can't report you to a credit agency, so 10 dollars a month will keep them off your back. If you send your money into the doctor's office, it makes it a royal pain for them, as they have to turn it over to the collections agency and spend a lot more time dealing with it than they should. I figure if they screwed up, they should be the ones who have to deal with it. Maybe making it noticable and difficult for them will make them rethink their billing procedures, etc.


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 7:41pm

Krista, ugh I'm SO sorry!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2006
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 8:56pm

Y'all are great, thank you! So much useful info. and experience!

Yes, Holly, our insurance is through DH's work. He wondered about calling the Employee Benefits but wasn't sure exactly what they even do so he didn't know if they could help us. LOL So should I talk to the insurance company's customer service first or would it be best to go straight to Employee Benefits?? I just want to go straight to who will do the most for us and avoid all the other people who run me in circles and don't know what they're talking about! LOL

Thanks ladies, I'm feeling a little less stressed about this whole mess. (What y'all don't know is I just spent the last 9 months straightening out- over and over again- a denial/hold from our flex account for this DR's final payment last year which turned out not to be our last payment, obviously! I'm so done with insurance crap!!)

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 9:58pm

Krista: I'd say start with the insurance company first, since they are the entity that should ultimately pay the claim.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 09-22-2006
Mon, 10-05-2009 - 11:58pm

*Deep breath* I'll try the insurance company tomorrow!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2006
Tue, 10-06-2009 - 9:13am

Krista

You are soooooo not responsible for this bill! You have insurance, and its not YOUR fault that the Drs office forgot to file.

I know how frustrating it is - my Mom just had some minor surgery and the Drs office sent it to the wrong lab for testing, so they slapped her with an over $400 bill!!! Oh no no no - I called EVERYONE complaining - telling them she had absolutely no control over where the nurse sent it, and its not her fault they sent it to the wrong lab. They asked me to write a letter to the lab explaining the error and THE LAB WROTE OFF THE BILL IN FULL!!!! (Drs office cant just write it off because its illegal - they think they are in with the insurance companies so the fed gov says you cant do it) but if YOU write the letter, it saves their as*es.

Anyway - I would definitely call your insurance co and explain the mix up. Then get the MANAGER of the billing Dept at the Dr's office and explain to them too. Let them know you are NOT paying out of pocket for this - it was THEIR error. If for nothing else, they may write off most (if not all) of it. Its crazy but most wouldnt make such a stink but just pay it - and thats what they are hoping for.

Also, just an FYI - dont bother with the collection agency. You will not get anywhere. Dont worry too much - I worked in the lab for over 14 yrs and we sent a lot of ppl to collection for not paying their bill. Drs bills as well as lab bills do not go on your credit report (believe it or not!). We used the agencies more as a scare tactic than anything else. After its resolved make sure you call the collection agency at that point to make sure they took you OUT of collection.

Good luck. It sucks to deal with it - I just did it for my Mom and was about to pull my hair out

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-1999
Tue, 10-06-2009 - 10:50am
Just an FYI, medical bills can go on your credit report. I had one years ago that the urgent care told me they took my insurance, and it turned out to be out of network, and I never paid it, and it definitely sat on my credit report for 7 years as an unpaid collection until it aged off. It is the main reason I have never been listed on our mortgage.
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