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How Late Can a Medical Provider Bill You?

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rated:
Hey FWF, 

My daughter was born in March 2016. We just received a $200+ bill for her hearing test done in the hospital. 

1. In my minimal research that I've done I've seen in most states you have to pay anything within 6 years (because that's the length of time that they could sue you for what you owe). I'm in Tennessee. Is that accurate?
2. I figure #1 is accurate. Is there any tips to negotiate with them? Can I call them and say "Hi, this was performed 14 months ago, I'd like to offer you $100"? 

It's less about the $200 and more of the principle of billing me 14 months later... 

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rated:
It's about the $200, admit it. Now, if you want to know if they will take less, just call and ask them... Pretty easy eh?

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kmully said:   Hey FWF, 

My daughter was born in March 2016. We just received a $200+ bill for her hearing test done in the hospital. 

1. In my minimal research that I've done I've seen in most states you have to pay anything within 6 years (because that's the length of time that they could sue you for what you owe). I'm in Tennessee. Is that accurate?
2. I figure #1 is accurate. Is there any tips to negotiate with them? Can I call them and say "Hi, this was performed 14 months ago, I'd like to offer you $100"? 

It's less about the $200 and more of the principle of billing me 14 months later... 

  Assuming that you are insured, ask your insurance company.

1) You should receive an explanation of benefits, and you shouldn't pay bills until you receive one.
2) Assuming that the provider is in network, the insurance contract most likely is more restrictive on the biller than state law.

rated:
this test is done by an outside agency living inside the hospital and is billed seperately...thats why you are getting a seperate bill apart from the insurance bill.

this is another scam ....in the healthcare world. call and negotiate. thats what i did.

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1.  Yes, there is a statute of limitations for suing you, but not for ruining your credit.  There also isn't a statute of limitations for  doing the right thing.  I would recommend paying the bill, since it appears you actually received the service.
2.  Having said this, negotiation is always possible!  You're not in a position of power since the bill has already been rendered (and you didn't negotiate beforehand), but it never hurts to speak with the billing office.

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kmully said:   
It's less about the $200 and more of the principle of billing me 14 months later... 

What's the offense to you, other than being a little sloppy? Seems like you owe it, fair and square.  

rated:
BrianGa said:   
kmully said:   
It's less about the $200 and more of the principle of billing me 14 months later... 

What's the offense to you, other than being a little sloppy? Seems like you owe it, fair and square.  

I now have to take time to go back through my records to make sure we already haven't paid it. If they've already made one mistake (billing 14 months late) then they just as easily could have made the mistake to double bill us. Maybe it's just my take on running a business. I wouldn't wait 14 months to bill a client and expect full payment.

rated:
MD here- that sounds sort of shady, or at best poor business. I mean really who bills over 1 year after service?
1)Talk to your insurance company first. Make sure it is at least filtering through them first- credit given towards your deductible and any reductions. Talk to them about if this is a valid, if it's in- network (and if so does it comply with their billing requirements).
2)Complain to the hospital- not that they will likely care, but they might. If you paid the rest of your bills on time, ask them WTF is up with this.
3)Complain to the company- offer them 50%.
4)Update us.

rated:
Ask your insurance company as was mentioned above. My company only allows providers 90 days to bill them, if they fail to bill the insurance within 90 days, they make the provider write the charge off. This has happened twice in the last 5 years. Both times I received a bill from the provider which showed the insurance denied payment. When I pulled the EOB, it clearly stated that it was outside the claims guidelines, and I was not responsible. I called the provider and mentioned that, and they took the charges off my account.

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phisher4 said:   1.  Yes, there is a statute of limitations for suing you, but not for ruining your credit.  There also isn't a statute of limitations for  doing the right thing.  I would recommend paying the bill, since it appears you actually received the service.
2.  Having said this, negotiation is always possible!  You're not in a position of power since the bill has already been rendered (and you didn't negotiate beforehand), but it never hurts to speak with the billing office.

  Actually, there is a statute of limitations for ruining your credit. Federal law limits derogatory reporting to 10 years for most bankruptcies, and 7 years for everything else.

Case law and state laws may effectively shorten that timeframe even further since reporting a collection account may be seen as an illegal action to collect on a debt outside of the statute of limitations for the debt.

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Update:
1. This is annoying.
2. Insurance company says the hearing test was bundled in as part of the "Mommy/Baby care" when my daughter was born, so the doctor billing us needs to go to the facility to get paid. Said I am not liable, and to tell the payment company/doctor that if they have any problems with that to contact them (my insurance company).
3. Called company who billed me, told them the above, they put me on a long hold and came back to say they would put a hold on my account (so no added charges for not paying on time, etc.) and would reach out once they had researched it.
4. It looks like it was filed for claim last May, then has "Retraction" on the bill in April of this year -- so maybe the insurance company paid it, then said wait we shouldn't have paid this because we already paid the facility -- and now the doctor wants to get paid?

Long story short it sounds like the doctor, facility, and insurance aren't on the same page so the default is go after the patient... 

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I rec'd a bill for my copay from a hospital that my daughter was in..... in Dec 2015! It took them 18 months to bill me $100. I checked my records to make sure I never paid it and verified the amount with my insurance EOB. Everything checked out, so I paid it, confident that it wasn't already paid or incorrect.

It amazes me how slow some medical billing is. My insurance paid this bill a long time ago. Like within a couple months of the service. No reason why it takes them so long to bill the copays.

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Forever. at least to the statue of limitations if it's a cash transaction. If they're in network and covered, typically they have to file (and bill you) within a year, typically.

My PCP has a small, new office. I've been seeing him off and on for 6 months and have never been billed. I just brought in a series of checks for the exact amounts off the insurance EOBs, rather than getttimg some random bill years later.

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kmully said:   Long story short it sounds like the doctor, facility, and insurance aren't on the same page so the default is go after the patient... 
  
That describes 90% of medical billing issues, IMHO. If they come back and say you owe it, call the insurance company and ask them to assist, they'll tell the provider to write it off and pound sand.

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doveroftke said:   
kmully said:   Long story short it sounds like the doctor, facility, and insurance aren't on the same page so the default is go after the patient... 
  
That describes 90% of medical billing issues, IMHO. If they come back and say you owe it, call the insurance company and ask them to assist, they'll tell the provider to write it off and pound sand.

  
Except the problem is that the insurance company doesn't have to (and 99/100 times) won't help you. They have no reason to help you. The end result is them putting their hands up and saying "This one is on you..."

Vs. Something like a car insurance claim, where if the insurance company works with you to resolve issues could result in the other party's insurance paying out for part of the claim.

rated:
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
kmully said:   Long story short it sounds like the doctor, facility, and insurance aren't on the same page so the default is go after the patient... 
  
That describes 90% of medical billing issues, IMHO. If they come back and say you owe it, call the insurance company and ask them to assist, they'll tell the provider to write it off and pound sand.

  
Except the problem is that the insurance company doesn't have to (and 99/100 times) won't help you. They have no reason to help you. The end result is them putting their hands up and saying "This one is on you..."

Vs. Something like a car insurance claim, where if the insurance company works with you to resolve issues could result in the other party's insurance paying out for part of the claim.

  
That is not my experience with two different insurance providers.  I have been on the phone when they conferenced in the offending office/clinic and read through the terms of service they agree to when they bill the insurance(This was for trying to bill something that wasn't covered, not a late bill) .  They had no problem doing it.

rated:
daw4888 said:   
justignoredem said:   
doveroftke said:   
kmully said:   Long story short it sounds like the doctor, facility, and insurance aren't on the same page so the default is go after the patient... 
  
That describes 90% of medical billing issues, IMHO. If they come back and say you owe it, call the insurance company and ask them to assist, they'll tell the provider to write it off and pound sand.

  
Except the problem is that the insurance company doesn't have to (and 99/100 times) won't help you. They have no reason to help you. The end result is them putting their hands up and saying "This one is on you..."

Vs. Something like a car insurance claim, where if the insurance company works with you to resolve issues could result in the other party's insurance paying out for part of the claim.

  
That is not my experience with two different insurance providers.  I have been on the phone when they conferenced in the offending office/clinic and read through the terms of service they agree to when they bill the insurance(This was for trying to bill something that wasn't covered, not a late bill) .  They had no problem doing it.

Nor mine.  I had a hospital try to balance bill me a few years ago.  Called insurance company, they called hospital and said to pound sand.  Hospital sent me another bill.  I called insurance company again.  They sent hospital a drop dead letter, cc'ing me on it.  Never heard from them again.  

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