6+ months ago I attended this physical therapy place for 4, 1 hour visits that were billed at 600$ each. I realized they were out-of-network and switched places. Checking my records I realized I paid the last 2 invoices but forgot the first two.

It's been 7+ months and I never had a bill submitted to my address. Should I pay it to avoid collections or have they forgotten about it? Shouldn't they send me a reminder? Had I not checked my insurance's portal, I would have never noticed it.

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    Are you sure the last 4 didn't include the balance of the first two sessions? – quid Aug 1 '16 at 17:30

Seems like the straightforward answer is to call the provider and ask. They should be able to tell you if you owe them or not. Unfortunately, with small providers there is always a chance they won't get even that right; I would confirm exactly why they think you don't owe them anything if in fact you don't.

Medical providers can go after you for years later, depending on your state; so don't assume just because it's been months that they won't eventually. Smaller providers aren't terribly organized, but they do usually eventually go after most of those who owe them.

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  • great idea called them the other day and waiting to hear back from them. – ngnewb Aug 3 '16 at 19:54

Sometimes I think a question like this is one of moral versus legal. The reality is that you know you owe the money because you received the services. You're right that the bill should have been sent to you, and the natural urge for many people is to just count it in the win column when things like this happen and there's the chance to avoid paying.

I suppose my question for you is, are you comfortable with the notion that you are not paying something that your heart of hearts tells you should be paid? If roles were reversed and you, as a business owner, had forgotten to bill something for which you were rightfully due payment, wouldn't you hope they'd have the integrity to pay you anyway?

The legal side of this can be a bit trickier, and much depends on the state you're in (assuming you're in the U.S.) because some have stiffer consumer collection and protection laws than others. The rehab center could, when doing an audit of its accounts, discover that you didn't pay for these. They could take the polite course of action and call you with a gentle reminder or send a bill, or they could be not so nice about it. Either way, they can't send anything to collections for which you haven't been presented a bill and demonstrated an unwillingness to pay. There's a process in place, regardless of the state, so they can't just automatically put it into collections.

I will close with this question for you: did the rehab center help you with what you needed, and are you healthier and better because of their care? If so, pay the bill. That's my advice. Keep in mind that unpaid medical costs just raise the prices for everyone else, because these providers will make up for the loss somewhere.

I hope this helps.

Good luck!

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  • Ethically I cant agree with you 100% because the services here were an order of magnitude of 10 greater than what my insurance pays in network. The difference was like 600$ for an hour vs 58$ billed for an hour in network. Though I didnt realize it was out of network till visit 4 when I saw the invoices on my insurance. – ngnewb Aug 2 '16 at 17:55
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    I understand your point, and I don't blame you for being shocked at the price. Medical care rates are outrageous these days, so it's easy to be indignant about the bill! (grin) Just be prepared for the possibility that if you don't pay, they may eventually figure it out and ask you to anyway. – Daniel Anderson Aug 2 '16 at 20:06
  • Sure thing, my friend. Good luck to you! – Daniel Anderson Aug 4 '16 at 0:51

check the DATE OF SERVICE on all your invoices carefully. It's possible you actually DID pay already.

Sometimes when a medical provider gets "mostly" paid by a third party insurer, they just drop the (small) remainder, as it's more cost than it's worth if it is a trivial amount. Alternatively, they wait until you show up for another office visit, and "ding" you then!

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