Can a hospital bill me 4 years later for something?

by Fran
(Los Angeles)

My daughter was admitted into a psych ward when she was 16. That was 4 years ago and they are just now sending me bill. Can they do that?

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May 07, 2012
Can a hospital bill me 4 years later for something?

If your daughter was a patient at the hospital then you owe the hospital for the cost of her care. If you had insurance when your daughter was admitted, it may have taken this long to get all of the billing and who-pays-who-how-much sorted out.

I am not aware of any state laws limiting how long a medical provider has to bill for a service after it's been provided. However, you may want to check with a consumer law attorney in your area to find out if your state has such a law.

One suggestion given that it has been 4 years since your daughter was admitted to the hospital is to ask the hospital it it will discount its bill. It may refuse, but you never know what's possible unless you ask. If you cannot pay whatever you end up owing in a lump sum, try to work out a payment plan with the hospital. If you negotiate one, don't begin paying on the plan until you have all of its terms in writing.

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