The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.
45

My question is what more can I do to ensure this doesn't happen again. Credit monitoring services can be helpful at detecting things like this early, but they can't actually prevent them, clerical errors will persist. Shouldn't the hospital be penalized for ruining my credit over this 7 month period. I never received bills from them for the outstanding ...


42

Is it common in the US not to pay medical bills? Certainly not. What some might do, however, is not pay them immediately, with the intent to negotiate them down or get them written off. You can also see if there's a discount for paying immediately - I've had moderate success with this, but it was during a time where we couldn't pay them all immediately, ...


22

In addition to the good answers already provided, I want to point out that many (most?) providers will handle filing your health insurance claim for you even though it's really your responsibility. So here's how medical bills "you don't have to pay" might come about: go to the doctor. $100 is owed to the practice. the doctor's staff files the necessary ...


16

There are some uniquely American issues in this question (and answer), but some general principles as well. In general, most Americans are covered by some form of medical insurance. One of the effects of this is that the true cost of medical procedures are hidden from the consumer. Instead, the cost of insurance and the cost of the procedure are completely ...


13

There are a couple of specific criteria in the HDHP / HSA relationship. You must be enrolled in an HDHP in order to contribute funds to an HSA on a tax preferred basis. You do not need to be enrolled in an HDHP to spend the HSA funds on qualified medical expenses on a tax preferred basis. One of the qualifiers for an HSA eligible medical expense is the ...


12

Realistically, if the bill is only $330, you're unlikely to find a solution that doesn't cost you more than that in time and irritation. I would just pay the $330, give them a one-star Yelp review, maybe file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, tell anyone who asks that they're not to be trusted, and get on with your life.


12

Yes, you certainly can. As long as you incurred the expense while you had the HSA account in place, you can pay for the expense in any way you please, and reimburse yourself later for that expense out of your HSA. Just ask your bank/HSA custodian how to handle it, as the procedure is different with different institutions. With some, it is as simple as ...


11

The hospital has done what they can do in terms of repairing the damage; 30 days is reasonable given reporting frequency. No permanent harm has been done in terms of your credit. Further, since this is a medical collection, it didn't do a whole lot of damage in the first place; many credit scoring algorithms do not consider medical collections at all or ...


10

Just because the bill can't be reported doesn't mean the debt doesn't exist and isn't owed. So apart from the obvious decade of collections calls, and withholding of your medical records from the clinic, you can still be sued. While I haven't read a statute that lays out the non-reportability of medical collections, I'm sure an unpaid judgement can be ...


10

Okay you are dealing with a collection agency, and they are (generally speaking) pretty bad with things like lying, cheating, and stealing. This is what I would do if I was in your situation: Stop the Auto-Draft This is pretty important, because the auto-draft will probably be for the rest of your life if the collection agency can get away with it. They ...


9

Is it common in the US not to pay medical bills? Or do I misunderstood what had been said? I would feel comfortable saying that most people who face medical bills don't pay them. They are unable. If they were able, they would have gotten medical insurance. In America, something like 55% of individuals do not have even $500 of savings, so when a big ...


9

Yes you can. You will need proof of receipt for the amount and submit it to the bank who operates your HSA account. You have to ensure that your medical expenses qualify as they would if you had paid with your HSA account.


9

There are non legal avenues that you might consider. Contact your state dental association. They have a peer review process to help resolve dental treatment disagreements. If it is a legitimate complaint, they will mediate. States also have a Board of Dentistry which provide the ability to submit complaints. You should make another attempt to ...


7

Most states have an insurance regulator with a hotline you can call if you suspect insurance fraud to talk with someone about whether your situation might constitute fraud. Since you mentioned UCSF I am assuming you are in California. I'm sure they would be happy to answer questions like this regardless of whether you want to file a complaint. California ...


7

With every medical bill covered under insurance there are multiple prices involved. Some depend on if the item is 100% covered, partially covered, covered with a co-pay, out-of-network, or not covered. In general here a 4 numbers: Full price (the amount somebody would pay without insurance) The negotiated price. This is the amount that the insurance ...


7

You made an honest mistake. It's OK, it happens. I would recommend calling the billing department of the doctor/hospital and explaining the situation. They might not believe you, but if you're polite and honest about working with them to rectify the situation, they may be willing to pull the bill from collections and work with you on a long-term payment plan....


7

You mentioned in your question that the bill would have been paid by the insurance plan. In the US, insurance plans have timely filing deadlines - they vary from plan to plan, but can be as short as 90 days. Providers under contract with the plan are not allowed to bill the plan or the patient after that deadline, the debt is essentially a write off at that ...


6

Is it common in the US not to pay medical bills? Or do I misunderstood what had been said? There has definitely been a misunderstanding as it is not that common for people to not pay medical bills. Yes, there are those that cannot afford to pay them, and that does contribute to increasing prices, but overall people do pay. I think there is an aspect to ...


6

You can't reimburse something that isn't paid. The doctor accepted $80 against $100, you paid $80, you reimburse $80.


5

A large medical expense may offset the capital gains tax, but it depends on the cost of the medical bills relative to your adjusted gross income (AGI), how long you have owned the stock, and how much you sell that stock for relative to the purchase price, or cost basis. You can deduct the portion of medical expenses greater than 10% of your AGI. So for 2017,...


4

Probably not. Consider the following examples: The membership fee is $149/year, and all it does it give you access to this particular group of doctors. This is not tax deductible because the fee is not actually applied to any medical service. The membership fee is $149/year, and it gives you access to this particular group of doctors, and you receive a ...


4

No-- if you don't let it. Not all collections people are as ethical as we would hope. Legally, the debt is your father's. They may try to make you pay, but I don't see how or why you would be legally responsible. Every time you talk to somebody on the phone, make sure you point out you are the son of the debt holder. Look up and get to know the Fair ...


4

I can’t hire a lawyer for a $330 bill. Assuming calling the dentist regulators doesn't work, you still have options. If I were you, I would concentrate on the option of filing for insurance payment under a different claim code. Check with the insurance company and have them explain that code X (pre-orthodontic) should be replaced with code Y (whatever ...


4

Pete B.'s answer is great, but I wanted to call out a couple of other points from your question: Can I do anything to improve this situation? That depends on what you mean by "situation" and "improve", but the answer is mostly going to be no. The damage to your credit resulting from the debt not being serviced, and then sold to a collection agency, has ...


4

Ideally you would keep both the bill and payment receipt, so you can prove that those payments were for eligible expenses. Practically though, I believe a payment receipt by itself that shows a medical office or hospital as the payee should suffice. (Note IMHO the bill by itself without a payment receipt may not suffice.) The IRS does dictate recordkeeping ...


4

This is not an uncommon happening (but it's not too common either, unfortunately) Often, the hospital bills the insurance a huge amount, which the insurance reduces according to their contracts, and then pays it, less your share/deductible. The insurance then expects you to pay your share/deductible. However, the amount the hospital got is all they expected,...


3

What you have here is an interesting argument. Right now, this is totally complicated by the state of "forced insurance" that is currently in such hot debate right now. As a general rule of thumb though, most Americans pay their medical bills in one way or another. Though It is also accurate to say that most Americans have avoided paying a medical bill at ...


3

What's not "fair"? You contacted the hospital. They admitted to a mistake, and it's going to be remove from your credit report, as you have asked. The hospital is not the credit bureau, and they don't govern the policy by which incorrect information is removed. If you want it done faster, you've got about a ton of red tape toward getting legislation ...


3

Unfortunately, the only thing you can do to ensure that this doesn't happen again is to go over all paperwork and ask the clarification questions at the time it happens. Meaning, if your son has to have surgery again, go over the paperwork with the billing department to ensure that everything is correct. The good thing is that the hospital has acknowledged ...


3

In some cases it is normal for the funds to go directly from the insurance company to the medical office. This is especially true in the United States when going to an in-network doctor. The insurance company knows how much of the bill you are responsible for, and they know how much they are going to pay for their portion of the bill. In the above described ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible