Medical bills fall under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because they meet the definition of a “debt:” a consumer’s obligation to pay money arising out of a transaction in which the money, property, insurance, or services are primarily for personal, family, or household purposes.” This legal conclusion gives you rights and options with regard to your medical debts.
Medical debts and charges are amongst the error filled consumer debts, making them ripe to dispute under Fair Debt and Fair Credit laws. These laws turn the tables on medical bill collectors and reporters, possibly netting you thousands of dollars in the process. If a medical debt you dispute in any way is on your credit report or being collected, contact a FREE consumer protection attorney and see if you are entitled to compensation.
There are two common misconceptions about medical insurance:
- You think your insurance company is responsible for paying your medical bills and,
- You think medical providers are required to bill your insurance company.
The truth is consumers are responsible for their own medical debt. You therefore must ensure their insurance company is billed in a timely manner and billed correctly. It also means you must follow up in a timely manner to ensure the medical bill gets paid.
As a convenience most medical providers will directly bill your insurance company. Accepting their offer does not relieve you of financial responsibility however. And it’s not uncommon for medical providers to submit medical bills after an insurance company’s deadline for filing. In some cases the provider may, for a number of odd reasons, not submit the medical bill at all. Further, your insurance company may reject the bill or flat out refuse to pay.
Regardless of the reason, the bottom line is that you are still responsible for paying a medical debt unless you dispute it. It is not the medical provider’s concern that your insurance company did not pay your debt. You may therefore have to argue with your insurance company to get the bill paid. You may also have to pay the provider yourself and then work with your insurance company to get reimbursed.
Submit your information to a FREE* Fair Debt Case Review if you believe a a medial bill is being collected wrongly or you believe you are a victim of illegal or unfair debt collection practices.
Medical Bill Disputes
Medical bill disputes arise when you have old medical debts that you consider invalid; such debts can be disputed just like any other debt.
And just like any debt, interest can be added to medical bills IF the original contract or paperwork allows it AND your state law does not prohibit it. Always read the medical provider paperwork (contract for services rendered) carefully! And ALWAYS check your state law to make sure you are not being overcharged. Some states limit the amount of interest and the amount of collection fees.
Statute of Limitations on Medical Debts:
Medical debts are generally considered closed-ended credit contracts with a definite pay-off time limit. Unless you have a separate agreement medical debts are usually payable at the time services are rendered or in some cases within 30 days. Check your State’s Statute of Limitations (SoL) before you pay anything or simply ask a free consumer lawyer if the debt is even collectible.
My medical provider failed to bill my insurance company, am I still responsible for the debt?
Some common myths:
1. Medical providers are required to bill your insurance company.
2. Insurance companies have to pay your medical bills.
The truth is, you are responsible for paying your medical debts. Now, if you happen to have medical insurance, AND the insurance company receives the medical bill in accordance with its stated requirements AND the medical service is covered under the policy, then and only then is the insurance company responsible for paying the debt. Pay special attention to the words, “receives the medical bill in accordance with its stated requirements” because this is what gets people into trouble more often than not. As a convenience, most medical providers offer to bill your insurance company. However, accepting their offer does not relieve you of the responsibility of ensuring the medical bill gets paid. It’s not uncommon for medical providers to submit medical bills after an insurance company’s deadline for filing. In some cases, the provider may, for a number of odd reasons, not submit the medical bill at all. Regardless of the reason, the bottom line is that the consumer is still responsible for ensuring the insurance company “receives the medical bill in accordance with its stated requirements”! In some cases, your insurance company may reject the bill or flat out refuse to pay. The fact that your insurance company did not pay is not the medical provider’s concern! The medical provider has the right to expect you to pay the bill in a timely manner. You may have to argue with your insurance company and even go through dispute resolution but while you’re doing that, the medical provider is still entitled to timely payment. The best thing you can do is communicate with your medical providers to let them know you are working to resolve the issue. In the end, you may have to pay the provider yourself and then work with your insurance company to get reimbursed. Always read the medical provider paperwork (contract for services rendered) carefully!