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.

  • 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, 2014 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. Jun 20, 2014 at 20:22

3 Answers 3


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, 2014 at 17:27
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    "If they insist that insurance doesn't / didn't, then you're liable for whatever is left." Not necessarily. It could be the clinic is trying to bill over the customary allowance allowed by the insurance company, which is typically NOT allowed when a provider contracts with the insurance to allow billing to them. Some providers think the allowance is too low and then try to balance bill the patient; this is not allowed by the insurers typically. The best bet is to work with the insurance company to determine what the patient share should be.
    – Andy
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:33
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    "Some providers think the allowance is too low and then try to balance bill the patient; this is not allowed by the insurers typically." .... This restriction is only for In Network providers. Out of Network providers are usually free to balance bill (check your state laws) - which they typically do as they receive far less than their fees from the insurance company. The main way to combat this is to get the costs from the provider(s) prior to services being rendered.
    – NotMe
    Nov 2, 2017 at 15:46

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.


I had the same problem with a blood test. I paid for it with a credit card at the time, but they also sent me an invoice.

I disputed the invoice and they credited it - but months later I started getting calls from debt collectors. I would dispute the invoice and send a copy of the credit note cancelling the invoice to all the credit reference bureaus who would remove it from the credit report.

In the USA the debt collection system is a little odd (so I discovered). Once the primary collection agency figure out the debt is a mistake they sell it as an Excel file with all the other odd items to other collectors, and it works it's way down to the bottom feeders. Each time the process has to go through 'repeat and rinse' until eventually it stops

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