Hospital about to turn over past due bill to collector
In September of '09, we were out of state and had to take my daughter to the ER to get 3 stitches for a cut. About a month later, I received a bill for $547.00. I called thinking the insurance should have paid but found out they did not because it was considered out of network. The itemized bill was for an ER visit and sutures. Although I thought $547 was a lot for 3 stitches, I paid it.
A year after the ER visit, I received a second bill for over $650. I immediately called and was told the first bill was the doctor's bill and this was the hospital's bill. They could not tell me why it took a year for them to send me a bill, nor why the cost was so much (a total of $1100 for 3 stitches.) After giving me the run around, I filed a complaint with the state's consumer affair department. When the hospital received the complaint, I was told by the hospital billing supervisor that they could no longer talk to me because I had filed a complaint.
Yesterday, I received a notice stating I have 10 days to pay the bill which I had been disputing or they will turn the account over to collections unless I make payment arrangements. The problem is, they won't return my calls. I have called 6 times today but no one will answer in the office; neither will anyone tell me if the person I need to talk to is even working due to the holidays.
What actions do I need to take?