Do I have to pay this hospital bill this fast?

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My daughter was seen in the Emergency Room on June 20, 2016. She was vomiting all night, my wife called the doctor, doctor said go to ER, and my wife panicked and took her to the ER instead of an urgent care. As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200. I just got the bill. Dated July 15, 2016 and due July 30, 2016. No mention of late fees for not paying by then. This is awfully short. I have the money, but for cash flow reasons, would rather wait a bit (17th of the month, after credit card statement closes, so it gets pushed to following month). Could I face any penalty for waiting that long?

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I thought paperwork to custodian was only for FSA.

fwuser12 (Jul. 31, 2016 @ 11:57a) |

I just called the hospital. If I pay within the next 60 days, lump sum, they will give me a 20% discount. Can you believ... (more)

SavvyUser8739 (Aug. 01, 2016 @ 7:59a) |

Good idea. I bet you could have gotten more than 20% if that was the first thing they offered. Regardless, 20% is 20%. Y... (more)

jaytrader (Aug. 01, 2016 @ 8:01a) |

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You may give them a call to make a payment arrangement. However with my local hospital, I just send in a few hundred $$ and then will get another statement the next month with the balance and no late fees. The other option is to use a credit card (if they allow that kind of payment) with a card where you you just received the statement so you will get 3-4 weeks more to float it.

Call them. 99% of hospitals will setup a no-fee payment plan spread out over 6-12 months. And some hospitals will give a 10-15% discount if you pay in full.

Call and offer half. Tell them its a hardship to pay the whole thing

No problem to wait that long. As long as you pay in couple of months you'll be fine.

SavvyUser8739 said:    
...due July 30, 2016...17th of the month, after credit card statement closes

  Isn't the due date of the hospital bill after the 17th, when your credit card statement closes? I'm not understanding here... You can pay it now and then the statement won't close until the next month. Or are you saying you want to push the charge off to September, not August?

doveroftke said:   No problem to wait that long. As long as you pay in couple of months you'll be fine.
  This is shitty advice. They can report the account to collections after a single day late. Typically, they wait until the 30-day mark, but regardless... don't just blatantly tell someone they'll be fine if they're 30-60 days late.

jaytrader said:   
doveroftke said:   No problem to wait that long. As long as you pay in couple of months you'll be fine.
  This is shitty advice. They can report the account to collections after a single day late. Typically, they wait until the 30-day mark, but regardless... don't just blatantly tell someone they'll be fine if they're 30-60 days late.

Theoretically, you're likely right, but the probability of this actually happening for medical debt is practically nil.  Even if it happened, the collection agency will most like give the debtor (OP) an additional 30 or 60 days to pay in full without reporting a derogatory entry to any of the CRAs, maybe 90 days or more.

If OP is able and willing to pay the full amount by the middle of October, the likelihood that he'll be able to do that without any harm coming to his credit scores is extremely high, as long as he follows the good advice that has already been given in this thread.

Realistically (not 100% guaranteed, but most likely) it would probably be possible for OP to not pay a penny of this until Christmas, and then pay in full, and never be in any real danger of harming his credit.

Trying to float low four figures of medical debt for a few months is not something to panic about.  There's no rush to scramble and scrape loose change out of the couch cushions to cover this by July 30.

"Due Dates" in general do not exist for hospital bills IMO. This is for a lot of reason - but mostly due to the complexity of the bills. They will send you a bill for $6,000 when you only owe $50 because your insurance simply had a question for them. So yes, due dates on medical bills are bullshit. You can easily wait 1 or more months till the next bill comes around.

If I recall there is some type of law that allows a set period of time (6 months?) before a medical bill can ever be turned over to collections. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong there...

jaytrader said:   
SavvyUser8739 said:    
...due July 30, 2016...17th of the month, after credit card statement closes

  Isn't the due date of the hospital bill after the 17th, when your credit card statement closes? I'm not understanding here... You can pay it now and then the statement won't close until the next month. Or are you saying you want to push the charge off to September, not August?

The latter.  He wants to charge the $1200 medical debt to a credit card on 8/18 after the previous statement for that specific credit card closed on 8/17.  For the extra float into September.  I agree with doveroftke.  It won't be a problem.

Hospital and doctor's bill typically don't report to creditor agency and add interest until 90 days after initial bill. If you read the fine prints, most of them actually says exact that.

OP, Do you have any insurance? Has it been billed?

No insurance is mentioned so we'd assume there is none. But if there is insurance you should wait for the insurers adjusted statement or ask the hospital why insurance hasn't been billed.

jerosen said:   OP, Do you have any insurance? Has it been billed?

No insurance is mentioned so we'd assume there is none. But if there is insurance you should wait for the insurers adjusted statement or ask the hospital why insurance hasn't been billed.

  OP Answered that in the 2nd sentence: "As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200"

DTASFAB said:   
jaytrader said:   
doveroftke said:   No problem to wait that long. As long as you pay in couple of months you'll be fine.
  This is shitty advice. They can report the account to collections after a single day late. Typically, they wait until the 30-day mark, but regardless... don't just blatantly tell someone they'll be fine if they're 30-60 days late.

Theoretically, you're likely right, but the probability of this actually happening for medical debt is practically nil.  Even if it happened, the collection agency will most like give the debtor (OP) an additional 30 or 60 days to pay in full without reporting a derogatory entry to any of the CRAs, maybe 90 days or more.  


Just wanted to point out that one should use caution simply not paying, or paying less than full to medical facilities, without first contacting them.   They may be well within their right to send to collections, even as unlikely as you may think, it does happen.  

Recently in my area, a major hospital group has had significant media coverage for this.  They have been sending bills to collections right after the due date passes.  Media documented dozens of people that were willing to talk about it on print/camera, so there must exist many many more.  It's also well known that they've sent their own employees to collections for medical bills, despite the fact that their employees are well-paid, and are offered good, low-cost insurance coverage.  (Full disclosure:  My wife works for said hospital, but we pay our bills).  

I don't know about all the laws really, and I suspect they're state laws anyway (very pro-business state).  There apparently wasn't anything illegal about what they were doing.  There were a few media cases where people claimed they'd contacted the billing department and told them they weren't going to pay the full amount by the due date, and they still sent the bill to collections.  Well, did they agree, or did you just say you weren't paying?  Most people said they just assumed since it was a hospital, that they could just wait as long as they needed to pay, and that's not the way the hospital saw things.  

About the only thing the media coverage prompted was the hospital group responding to the few people that said they never received a bill, by saying they'd investigate those cases and make efforts to ensure everyone is getting a bill before they get sent to collections.  Ha!  They also said, if you have trouble paying your bill, to call them and work it out, not just ignore it past the due date.  And that's my advice to the OP.  

SavvyUser8739 said:    
My daughter was seen in the Emergency Room on June 20, 2016. She was vomiting all night, my wife called the doctor, doctor said go to ER, and my wife panicked and took her to the ER instead of an urgent care. As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200. I just got the bill. Dated July 15, 2016 and due July 30, 2016. No mention of late fees for not paying by then. This is awfully short. I have the money, but for cash flow reasons, would rather wait a bit (17th of the month, after credit card statement closes, so it gets pushed to following month). Could I face any penalty for waiting that long?

  Do not do anything until you get an EOB from your insurance. Make sure the items/procedures are correctly applied, discounts/negotiated rate and deductibles are correctly done and the amount billed by hospital agrees with what EOB says is your responsibility. I would be surprised if insurance got billed and processed everything so fast (but it is possible).

dobby10 said:   
jerosen said:   OP, Do you have any insurance? Has it been billed?

No insurance is mentioned so we'd assume there is none. But if there is insurance you should wait for the insurers adjusted statement or ask the hospital why insurance hasn't been billed.

  OP Answered that in the 2nd sentence: "As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200"
 

  

Thanks I overlooked that.   reread it couple times..        

OK then there is insurance.

Has the hospital billed insurance to get the adjusted rate???    Or is this just the initial bill from the hospital before the insurer adjusts?

I'd be surprised to get the adjusted bill in a month, but there is of course no reason they can't do it in a month.


 

fwuser12 said:   
SavvyUser8739 said:    
My daughter was seen in the Emergency Room on June 20, 2016. She was vomiting all night, my wife called the doctor, doctor said go to ER, and my wife panicked and took her to the ER instead of an urgent care. As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200. I just got the bill. Dated July 15, 2016 and due July 30, 2016. No mention of late fees for not paying by then. This is awfully short. I have the money, but for cash flow reasons, would rather wait a bit (17th of the month, after credit card statement closes, so it gets pushed to following month). Could I face any penalty for waiting that long?

  Do not do anything until you get an EOB from your insurance. Make sure the items/procedures are correctly applied, discounts/negotiated rate and deductibles are correctly done and the amount billed by hospital agrees with what EOB says is your responsibility. I would be surprised if insurance got billed and processed everything so fast (but it is possible).

  
I typically get the EOBs and bills about three weeks after service, even for ER bills (I have a recent experience here, as a matter of fact). 25 days in this case should not be surprising.

I do wholeheartedly agree to scrutinize the bill and compare with the EOB.
 

dobby10 said:   Call them. 99% of hospitals will setup a no-fee payment plan spread out over 6-12 months. And some hospitals will give a 10-15% discount if you pay in full.
 
This. The key word here is to call.

With my hospital, you're lucky to get even a bill in 60-90 days, and they usually give 90 days grace after that without fees.

dobby10 said:   
jerosen said:   OP, Do you have any insurance? Has it been billed?

No insurance is mentioned so we'd assume there is none. But if there is insurance you should wait for the insurers adjusted statement or ask the hospital why insurance hasn't been billed.

  OP Answered that in the 2nd sentence: "As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200"

  No, even bills before the deductible are subject to insurance adjustments.

stanolshefski said:   
dobby10 said:   
jerosen said:   OP, Do you have any insurance? Has it been billed?

No insurance is mentioned so we'd assume there is none. But if there is insurance you should wait for the insurers adjusted statement or ask the hospital why insurance hasn't been billed.

  OP Answered that in the 2nd sentence: "As we had not satisfied her deductible yet, the bill is about $1,200"

  No, even bills before the deductible are subject to insurance adjustments.

  
That fact wasn't in question.

I have to say, the people condoning paying the bill later than the due date are surprising me. Not even for the 'pay your bills, deadbeat' mentality of FWF, but for the fact that risking screwing up a credit report/score (regardless of how remote the possibility is) over $1200 is pretty insane--especially when OP has the money to pay right now.

jaytrader said:   I have to say, the people condoning paying the bill later than the due date are surprising me. Not even for the 'pay your bills, deadbeat' mentality of FWF, but for the fact that risking screwing up a credit report/score (regardless of how remote the possibility is) over $1200 is pretty insane--especially when OP has the money to pay right now.
That's even more reason to delay payment.  It's a small calculated risk that has a huge probability of paying off.  Even if it goes to collections when it's only one day late, it still won't be a hard mess to clean up.  Money fixes those types of problems.  Medical debt has to be X number of days late before it gets reported and begins to matter in the new scoring models, and even then, it's supposedly no longer as detrimental as other types of debt.  It's becoming much easier to become a medical deadbeat.

DTASFAB said:   
jaytrader said:   I have to say, the people condoning paying the bill later than the due date are surprising me. Not even for the 'pay your bills, deadbeat' mentality of FWF, but for the fact that risking screwing up a credit report/score (regardless of how remote the possibility is) over $1200 is pretty insane--especially when OP has the money to pay right now.
That's even more reason to delay payment.  It's a small calculated risk that has a huge probability of paying off.  Even if it goes to collections when it's only one day late, it still won't be a hard mess to clean up.  Money fixes those types of problems.  Medical debt has to be X number of days late before it gets reported and begins to matter in the new scoring models, and even then, it's supposedly no longer as detrimental as other types of debt.  It's becoming much easier to become a medical deadbeat.

  Still surprising that the majority of FWF people who have posted condone this behavior. 

I wouldn't pay NOTHING, but if you want to pay the bulk of the bill later, just make some reasonable payment ( $100 ) by the due date.

Call back and make sure that insurance EOB will be the amount to be paid. Even with deductibles and copays, there is often a contractual discount from the chargemaster price arranged by the insurance company. Blue Cross is among the best for this. Also age 65+ reduction by federal law may apply for seniors. Last hospital visit was priced at over $200K, eventually I cleared in full with payment of less than $2K.

DTASFAB said:   
jaytrader said:   I have to say, the people condoning paying the bill later than the due date are surprising me. Not even for the 'pay your bills, deadbeat' mentality of FWF, but for the fact that risking screwing up a credit report/score (regardless of how remote the possibility is) over $1200 is pretty insane--especially when OP has the money to pay right now.
That's even more reason to delay payment.  It's a small calculated risk that has a huge probability of paying off.  Even if it goes to collections when it's only one day late, it still won't be a hard mess to clean up.  Money fixes those types of problems.  Medical debt has to be X number of days late before it gets reported and begins to matter in the new scoring models, and even then, it's supposedly no longer as detrimental as other types of debt.  It's becoming much easier to become a medical deadbeat.

  plus you might get lucky and a charity pays the bill

OP here. Thanks for the advice but not sure if everyone understood this.

The hospital is a larger hospital. They do take credit cards. Insurance EOB was finalized a few weeks ago. Payment made to hospital by insurance ($137) on July 7, 2016 for a visit on June 20, 2016. The $1200 for my responsibility is accurate. The patient was my daughter who is 4.

I have the money and could pay it today out of my checking account if I had to. If it was a small sole proprietor, I would. But this is a big hospital, so I'd like to maximize my cash flow. My Discover card statement closes on the 16th of the month. I'd like to make the payment on August 17 so it doesn't pull from my checking account until September 11, 2016. The bill has a statement date of July 15, 2016 and says it is due July 30, 2016. So I'd like to pay it 18 days late, which is 33 days after the statement date.

There is no fine print on late payments. Unlike other bills, it doesn't list 30 days past due or 60 days past due.

I just did a search for complaints on this place. Don't see any.

I think everyone understood you pretty clear and the advice remains the same, call them.

SavvyUser8739 said:   OP here. Thanks for the advice but not sure if everyone understood this.

The hospital is a larger hospital. They do take credit cards. Insurance EOB was finalized a few weeks ago. Payment made to hospital by insurance ($137) on July 7, 2016 for a visit on June 20, 2016. The $1200 for my responsibility is accurate. The patient was my daughter who is 4.

I have the money and could pay it today out of my checking account if I had to. If it was a small sole proprietor, I would. But this is a big hospital, so I'd like to maximize my cash flow. My Discover card statement closes on the 16th of the month. I'd like to make the payment on August 17 so it doesn't pull from my checking account until September 11, 2016. The bill has a statement date of July 15, 2016 and says it is due July 30, 2016. So I'd like to pay it 18 days late, which is 33 days after the statement date.

There is no fine print on late payments. Unlike other bills, it doesn't list 30 days past due or 60 days past due.

I just did a search for complaints on this place. Don't see any.

  Call them and tell them you intend to pay in full on 8/18.  I think they'll be thrilled. to hear it.

My son had an ER visit earlier this year.  The hospital was not as quick about getting the bill out (but we were out of state and our insurance sent me questionnaires as to if someone as at fault for his accident probably before paying anything and settling with the hospital themselves).  Anyway...when I finally received the bill there was a note on there about calling for payment options.  I believe there was a low income option, monthly payment plan or pay 100% now for a big discount.  I believe the discount was 20%.  The phone call probably took 15 minutes to check my options and I paid in full (with my HSA card) for the 20% off.  

When you call you could also find out when you need to pay by, but as others have said if you said I want to pay in full on X date they'll probably be happy.  Definitely ask about discounts for paying in full though!

brooke789 said:   I paid in full (with my HSA card) for the 20% off. 
 

  
Shoulda used a cash back card!

doveroftke said:   
brooke789 said:   I paid in full (with my HSA card) for the 20% off. 
  
Shoulda used a cash back card!

  Ha!  But then there is paperwork to be reimbursed.   The card is so much easier

brooke789 said:   
doveroftke said:   
brooke789 said:   I paid in full (with my HSA card) for the 20% off. 
  Shoulda used a cash back card!

  Ha!  But then there is paperwork to be reimbursed.   The card is so much easier

You have the wrong custodian! I just ACHed the reimbursements to myself.

brooke789 said:     Ha!  But then there is paperwork to be reimbursed.   The card is so much easier
 

  I thought paperwork to custodian was only for FSA.

I just called the hospital. If I pay within the next 60 days, lump sum, they will give me a 20% discount. Can you believe that? No interest or anything, and no you have to pay now for the 20%. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm going to wait a few more days because I just saw the doctor bill part of it on the website. Then I'll call them and pay the full thing. Even though they said i could wait 60 days, I don't want to risk losing the 20%, so I'll pay it now and be done with it.

SavvyUser8739 said:   I just called the hospital. If I pay within the next 60 days, lump sum, they will give me a 20% discount. Can you believe that? No interest or anything, and no you have to pay now for the 20%. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I'm going to wait a few more days because I just saw the doctor bill part of it on the website. Then I'll call them and pay the full thing. Even though they said i could wait 60 days, I don't want to risk losing the 20%, so I'll pay it now and be done with it.
  Good idea. I bet you could have gotten more than 20% if that was the first thing they offered. Regardless, 20% is 20%. You ain't getting that in your checking account.



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