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Over 6 months ago I went to an Urgent care facility. I checked that this provider was in-network before going, and paid the copay before I was seen. I received a basic medical exam, did not receive any additional medication or treatment while I was there.

Sometime later I remember seeing a letter come in the mail from them but lost it. Now, I have a letter from a collections agency saying that a bill from the urgent care facility was sent to them for collections and I owe them a little over $20. The letter says I had to dispute it in writing within 30 days or they would consider it valid, but that window has already passed.

I have near-perfect credit (over 800), and I'd like to keep it that way. I don't know how I could owe any money to them, but I also don't really care at this point. I just want the best way to address this with the smallest possible impact to my credit score.

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    Is this a situation where you paid copay to the facility at time of service and are separately charged copay by physician?
    – user662852
    May 4 '20 at 20:03
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    Check the eob from your insurance company, it will explain in detail the billing. Also just because you have a copay doesn't mean you can't owe additional money, your insurance might also be 80/20 split until you reach a deductible, for example.
    – Andy
    May 25 '20 at 15:14
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New (Missed the fact that OP paid the original co-pay at time of services, not just misplaced the bill):

My hope is that you have a record of paying that bill. I.e. with a check, or a credit card line item. If it is cash, then it will just be your word vs. theirs. If you have that record, call up their office and send in a copy of that proof of payment and demand they remedy the error. (The 30-day limit may be their policy, but it is NOT the law -- especially since you have proof you already paid.)

If you paid cash, I'd probably suggest sucking it up and paying it again and follow the advise I wrote below. Which sucks, but is the best way to clear up this issue, and again, is a life lesson about record keeping.

Original:

Call up the original facility (not anyone they may have sold the debt to) and offer to pay it in full so long as they remove the record from any credit agency they report to.

In fact, just paying it will help a decent amount -- the biggest ding on the credit report will be from not paying. If the account is settled, but was settled late, then that is a ding, but it is not as bad as not having settled at all.

However, the original group may be willing to remove the record for payment in full. And if not, then its influence on the credit report will expire on its own over time. Take it as a life lesson to be more careful with bills.

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    He doesn't even owe it, since he paid the copay at the time of the visit. Sadly there's no way to fix it that won't waste far more than $20 of his time... which incentivizes sloppy billing.
    – Ben Voigt
    May 4 '20 at 16:41
  • @BenVoigt Good point, Ben, I thought that the OP had just missed the small bill, not pre-paid it. Editing the answer to reflect that... May 4 '20 at 18:00
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Having studied all information that you gave about your issue, I also suggest paying twice if you don’t want to spoil the near-perfect credit you have. I think that a perfect credit means more to you than losing another $20 bill. Being a writer at Fit My Money blog I often ask financial experts for advice for our readers and one of the financial experts also says that the time and points lost on your credit will be more than the extra $20 you may pay.

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