Last year our medical insurer froze my wife and children's account and refused to make any payments to any providers until my wife, her doctor, and possibly some of her other providers filled out a survey regarding the last five years of her medical history. They claimed that their reinsurer was requiring them to do this.
After several months of trying to deal with people who apparently had no power or authority to make things happen, they finally claimed that everything was good to go, and even sent a large file of EOBs regarding about thirty or so claims that they were going to pay. However, that was a couple of months ago, and from what I can tell they never actually paid. We were in contact with our providers, explaining the situation so that hopefully it would not go to collections. However, despite this we have now started receiving collections notices.
We don't have the money for any of these bills and cannot pay them - the amount of money owed is substantial, it's about 3 months worth of bills for three people. In some cases our providers refuse to give us the discount we should be getting that the insurance company negotiated with them, simply because our insurance hasn't paid them, increasing the amount they claim we owe.
What is the best way to respond to these letters? Should we ignore them? Should we write a letter to the collector disputing the validity of these bills as they are our insurer's responsibility and they are not paying like they should? Is there any extra leverage we have due to the fact that some of our providers aren't giving us the discounts they are supposed to?
Also, assuming our insurer actually pays at some point (this is a separate issue I am still working on) where does the money actually go? Presumably the provider has already received some money from the collector, would they pocket the whole thing, only the difference, or what? How would we even know they had received anything?