Can a doctor's office give a self pay discount and then charge you for it?

I went to my ob/gyn and paid in full, for my visit ($180.00) which included a self pay discount. I was later sent a bill for lab work, which i did not pay timely. I did pay it though along with $10 in late fees (2 months late). They sent me another bill for the self pay discount they had given me at the day of service, for the office visit, that had already been paid for the day I was there. They also charged another $5 late fee. Can they charge for discount when that debt was settled? The bill they were mailing me for that I did pay late was a lab bill. It seems like they are just being ridiculous! And for that matter, not right. I will pay the late fees for my bill not being sent in on time, but you shouldn't add money to another matter that us settled. Can they turn me in if I do not pay this? It's not even like they are saying it's a billing error, they clearly added in the self pay discount, which by the way was more than the lab bill. Ugggg! Please let me know if they can seriously turn me in and what I can do about it

Thank you so much!!!

Comments for Can a doctor's office give a self pay discount and then charge you for it?

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Oct 19, 2010
medical bill dispute
by: Gerri


We can't comment on the legality of the doctor's fees that were tacked on because of the separate lab bill you couldn't pay. That would be something you would have to talk with an attorney about and we are not attorneys. However, we do agree it sounds like the office is not being very accommodating of your attempts to resolve this debt.

Unfortunately, though, our experience has been that medical service providers often turn accounts over to collections when they are having trouble collecting the amount themselves, and that's usually considered acceptable. If this balance does go to collections, then you will wind up with a collection account on your credit reports, which could turn out to be even more expensive in the long run.

I'd suggest you consider two things. The first is to go to the doctor's office and insist on sitting down with someone who can help you resolve this on the spot. Be very polite but persistent. Don't leave until you have something in writing. Maybe if they are dealing with you in person rather than by mail, they will see you are doing the best you can to try to resolve this.

If that doesn't work than you can always go the route of filing complaints with the Better Business Bureau, your state's Board of Medicine (or a similar office). But be aware that if they state you owe a balance then they may turn that balance over to collections at any point.

You may also be interested in supporting the >Medical Debt Relief Act, proposed legislation that would require credit reporting agencies to remove medical debts from credit reports thirty days after they have been paid.

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