Medical Debt, doctors office never submitted to insurance, turned to collections
by Tiffini S.
(Pekin, IL USA)
I had a surgery with a local physician. I incurred three different bills with that office. They submitted two of the bills to my insurance automatically. The third bill was never submitted. I did pay the first two co-pays when they came back on my EOBs.
With my bill payment system, I pay medical bills based on the Explanation of Benefits from my insurer, not the bills directly from the doctor. So I simply overlooked this bill. I probably tossed out the initial bill and waited for the EOB.
I NEVER received a second bill from this doctor, then I started getting collection calls from a local medical debt collector.
I confirmed that the third bill was never turned in to my insurance, then I contacted the doctors' office directly. The doctors office responded to two of my letters inquiring about the debt, but they kept sidestepping my request for a copy of the original bill so that I could simply submit it to my insurance on my own.
I refuse to acknowledge the collection agency, because this bill was handled improperly. I will not pay them, nor will I even contact them. The amount of money owed is likely not enough to garner a legal action (I used to work for a collection agency, so I'm fairly confident of this) and quite frankly I have the money to pay off the whole thing. However, I feel I should only pay my insurance co-payment amount and that the doctors' office owes me an explanation of not only why they failed to submit it as they did the other two, but also as to why it was not revoked from collections once they realized they made the mistake. I think that it's a small office with one billing person and she is now 'cranky' with me for pointing out her error (as I have politely done several times).
I would like to know if there is any legal recourse I can take against the doctors office for failing to submit this bill, and for subjecting me to a collector, when the initial issue is their own fault. Also, can I say anything at all to the collection agency to stop the calls and BIG RED LETTERS in the mail every week?