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Recently I created a CreditKarma.com account so that I can keep and eye on my credit. Upon logging in, I noticed I have a pretty low score (not that surprising since I just opened my first credit card recently), but I had a look around anyway just out of curiosity.

What I found out was that I have three medical bills in collections from my local clinic that total around $250!

What's odd is that I have insurance that should have paid those costs, and I've never received bills from them before for that reason.

What can be done to get this removed from my credit report without paying it, since I wasn't supposed to pay it in the first place. Likely this started out as just an insurance mistake between the clinic and my insurance.

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Visit CreditBoards: creditboards.com/forums/index.php?showforum=39 They have lots of details and procedures for handling just this kind of stuff, and will probably be able to do it more comprehensively than here. –  Todd Jun 20 at 18:05
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I heard from a collections agency when my wife delivered our first baby. The hospital had the correct address, but one of the physicians transcribed the address incorrectly, and they didn't bother calling before sending it to collections. I think this scenario is quite common. I happened to be friends with someone on the board of directors for the hospital, and now supposedly there are more safeguards in place to prevent sending everything directly to collections. This isn't an answer, but you might try to go outside the system and complain to someone who can make the system better. –  Nathan L Jun 20 at 20:22
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3 Answers 3

If it is a mistake then the credit bureaus have a procedure for disputing the item.

But it might not be viewed by the bureaus as a mistake. You do have an account with the clinic and the clinic is apparently waiting for you top pay them the money they are owed. You will need to contact the clinic to determine what the problem is. The clinic could be wrong, the insurance company could be wrong, or you could be wrong. Or some combination of the three parties could be wrong.

You will have to start with the clinic., and maybe move on to the insurance company. It could take several rounds of contacting them in order to get it resolved.

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This happened to me when I went to buy my house. I had an "outstanding" $48 and $150 in medical bills due. When I paid them, I got checks 8 weeks later for the exact amounts I'd written, stating that it was over-payment. When I called the hospital, they said that collections didn't have updated billing records.

1) Contact the clinic

Ask if you actually owe anything. They'll be able to pull all of the billing records for your account. If you do owe something, let them know that your insurance was supposed to cover that. If they insist that insurance doesn't / didn't, then you're liable for whatever is left. If it has gone to collections, you'll have to pay through the collections company, not directly to the clinic.

2) Contact the collections company

They are notoriously bad at keeping their records up-to-date, and will continue to report "unpaid medical" until you pay it or they clear it. If the clinic says you're paid up, let them know that. They will contact the clinic to get the billing records. Once that's cleared up, move on to...

3) Contact the credit bureaus where this is affecting your history

You can dispute an item to have it removed. They will contact the collections company and raise the dispute. If you've contacted collections, and they know you don't owe anything, they'll clear it when the dispute reaches them.

This process can take a few months to complete (and for the bad mark to be removed from your report). In general, a single $250 medical bill past due doesn't have a huge effect on your credit score, but it's always good to get it cleared up.

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Actually it's three different medical bills that total $250. –  Soviero Jun 20 at 17:27
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First, I recommend you double check your policy. It's highly unlikely you have a 0 deductible policy, based upon averages. It would help if you posted the contract with sensitive information redacted.

Be wary of willy-nilly recommendations on how to pursue this issue, and certainly be patient because law is slow, yet in this middle stage of the US republic, the judiciaries still function mostly accurately, so if you are indeed on the right side of the law, you will prevail. Think of it as a game, and you will be better emotionally equipped to tackle this problem.

There are very specific procedures on how to handle credit and credit reporting issues. If you deviate, you will lose.

Reread your policy and be sure that it covers this cost. Post it, redacted of course, and it can be better analyzed.

From there, you can plan your response. If the insurer is indeed liable, consult with a lawyer, but be sure it is one who has a good track record of achieving results. If the prospective demands you prepay, they are most likely a hack.

If you are liable, the preferred route is to demand a pay for delete, but this must be pursued delicately because it will encourage the creditor to sue; however, creditors rarely sue for such small sums, thus the legal costs will eclipse the collection, so in this case, you can be steely. Never forget that they are your enemy: all compliments, flatteries, and helps are lies.

If you are not liable, the procedure to maximize the result are very precise. I would recommend opening another question or linking to one that addresses this issue so that a superior answer can be provided.

This is war. Never feel ashamed for trying to maximize your value. Creditors, reporters, providers: they all have no inhibition to see you enslaved, literally.

The overriding concern is to pursue this properly according to law.

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