Medical Bill in Collection for me going to my stepfather...

by Mia
(Maryland)

I was working for a lady who was a dentist. She told me she could close up my gaps (in my front teeth) for me and we just charge the insurance and not me because I worked for her. I know with any insurance usually there is a deductible that has to be paid. When I went to swipe my card to pay my deductible she told me "NO" we will just charge the insurance. The total for the procedure she did was $702. Under my mother's insurance which I was under after the age of 22 you cannot be covered my the insurance.

She preformed the procedure two days before my birthday. We submitted the claim to the insurance and waited. When the claim came back the insurance denied the claim stating that the procedure could not be covered. My stepfather and his children came to get their teeth cleaned and my stepfather ssn # was required in order to submit claims for the children. So his ssn# was on file. She sent another claim but she lied and said I had broken teeth and they needed to be fixed (that was not true!). The insurance denied the claim again. She told me we just going to keep trying.

The following week I found a better paying job so I left the dental practice. After a week when I left she sent me a bill for $702 for the procedure that she told me I didn't have to pay. So finally my stepfather started receiving collection notices from a collection agency she used.

Can they go through my stepfather for the money? He is not real family to me, so how can they do that or maybe she told the collection agency it was his debt. What are my rights legally and how do I resolve this matter?

Comments for Medical Bill in Collection for me going to my stepfather...

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May 25, 2010
disputed dental debt
by: Gerri

Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

What an ugly situation! unfortunately, I don't have an easy answer for you. I don't know what kind of agreement your stepfather signed and whether that would hold him liable for your debt or not. Since you were apparently under his insurance at the time it's possible that he could be held responsible, but I'm not certain.

He could certainly try to dispute the debt with a collection agency by sending them a letter explaining that he does not believe he is responsible for the debt and asking them not to contact him again. He should read our suggestions about
cease and desist letters before he decides to go that route.

Once the debt collector receives his letter,it will either decide not to pursue the debt, or it may decide to take them to court. If the collection agency decided to take them to court, you would want to make sure to get legal advice. The only problem here are is that the collection agency may reported on his credit report and he may have trouble getting it off. That alone could really mess up his credit.

The other thing you could do is go back to the dental office and try to get them to work with you. It's really unfortunate that the person you were working with didn't keep up her end of the bargain, though to be fair, she may have felt that she was doing you a favor as an employee and when you left shortly thereafter she may have changed her mind. Nevertheless, it does sound like you had a verbal agreement that you would not be out of pocket for this procedure.

All in all, it's a rather complicated situation. I would suggest you first go back to the dentist's office and see what you can work out, and if that doesn't work, you may have to talk to an attorney yourself.

Keep in mind, we can only offer educational advice on this site, not legal advice. Good luck - I hope you're able to find a solution. Do let us know.

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