Medical Debt Bill Not Received
(Syracuse, New York)
One year ago I received a call from a debt collector for an unpaid medical bill, under 200 dollars. The hospital that sold the debt had sent the bill to the wrong address, so I had never received a bill, and thought that my insurance through the college I was attending had covered the bill in full. I told the collection agency on three separate occasions to send me a bill. They never sent a bill or written documentation about the debt that I owed. I never heard from them again.
Yet today (almost one year later to the day that the first collector called), I received a phone call from another agency about the same medical bill debt. What course of action should I take from here?
Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers.com:
The debt collection agency is required by law to send you written notice of the debt within 5 business days of initially contacting you. If you don't get that notice, talk with a consumer law attorney right away.
As for dealing with this debt, we wish wish we had an easy answer for you. We aren't aware of any specific procedures for this kind of problem (where the bill gets sent to the wrong address) and it's unfortunately too common.
If you decide to settle it, we would urge you to push hard to get the collection agency to agree in writing that it will remove if from your credit reports if you pay it. That's the right thing for them to do under the circumstances.