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  • Debt collection agency

    I have a medical bill from sometime between 2010 to 2012 for about $900. I don't remember the details since I was much younger but the essence of it is that the hospital/specialist was not given appropriate insurance information by the referring doctor, did not inform me about not having insurance info & later  submitted this bill to the agency- I had no idea that one procedure would result in so many different bills (hospital, pathologist, interventional radiologist, referring surgeon) one of which was this $900 one. I was naïve and lazy & by the time I followed up a year later (I was under my parent's insurance policy),  the deadline for old claims had passed. So now this bill is sitting on my credit history and I just want to pay it off. It has switched 2 collection agencies in this time. It disappeared from my credit history in January this year and reappeared a couple weeks later with a date of Jan 28th 2017 with this agency-so I assume it was sold from one to another. How do I go about paying it?

    Is it best to call the original creditor aka hospital I owe and just pay them? I'm afraid of calling the collection agency since they are known to harass people and I'm not sure if anything I say will be recorded or held against me or whether they will extract more money out of me than I originally owe.

  • #2




    I have a medical bill from sometime between 2010 to 2012 for about $900. I don’t remember the details since I was much younger but the essence of it is that the hospital/specialist was not given appropriate insurance information by the referring doctor, did not inform me about not having insurance info & later  submitted this bill to the agency- I had no idea that one procedure would result in so many different bills (hospital, pathologist, interventional radiologist, referring surgeon) one of which was this $900 one. I was naïve and lazy & by the time I followed up a year later (I was under my parent’s insurance policy),  the deadline for old claims had passed. So now this bill is sitting on my credit history and I just want to pay it off. It has switched 2 collection agencies in this time. It disappeared from my credit history in January this year and reappeared a couple weeks later with a date of Jan 28th 2017 with this agency-so I assume it was sold from one to another. How do I go about paying it?

    Is it best to call the original creditor aka hospital I owe and just pay them? I’m afraid of calling the collection agency since they are known to harass people and I’m not sure if anything I say will be recorded or held against me or whether they will extract more money out of me than I originally owe.
    Click to expand...


    No, its been written off by the original people and they no longer care. The collection agency is just trying to make more pennies off of it then they bought it for. I had a bogus one of these a while back (they often are wrong due to poor records, perpetual selling of same debt) and I read up on it and the category or particular debt didnt have to be paid and wouldnt be reported so I never talked to them again. Yours sounds different.

    Probably the first thing to do is dispute it. Records may be hard to come by, hard to prove whether or not its real, and just see what happens. If the crediting agencies all return it as valid, pay it off. Negotiate it though as they will likely take a lower amount.

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    • #3
      I'm pretty sure you can still pay the hospital. I would at least call them first. If they say no, then deal with the debt collector. But, make sure you get something in writing saying exactly what you owe and that the debt will be paid in full once you pay them. Also, do not give them electronic access to your checking account.

      They probably will take half that amount but to me it wouldn't be worth the hassle negotiating for the few hundred dollars saved.

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      • #4




        I’m pretty sure you can still pay the hospital. I would at least call them first. If they say no, then deal with the debt collector. But, make sure you get something in writing saying exactly what you owe and that the debt will be paid in full once you pay them. Also, do not give them electronic access to your checking account.

        They probably will take half that amount but to me it wouldn’t be worth the hassle negotiating for the few hundred dollars saved.
        Click to expand...


        That will depend on whether or not the collection company was hired to pester him, or if they actually own it. Thats the first thing to do and figure out, otherwise you could end up paying and it not counting. Without knowing who the true owner is for sure, you can make a mistake. So figure that part out first, dont just randomly pay anything.

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        • #5
          Agree with Zaphod, first thing is to dispute the debt on all three credit reports. Don't be surprised if that removes it completely. If that doesn't work, follow up with the collecting agency. Don't call, certified mail is best, and there are generic letters with the appropriate legalese available on the web. Any payment needs to include written confirmation from the agency to remove the debt from your history (b/c it is possible to pay but the debt remain on your report).

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          • #6
            Thanks for your help!

            To clarify, what is the reason for disputing when I know I originally owe this to the hospital? (Another thing-when I tried to look up the hospital bill it would not recognize the account number which makes me believe that the hospital has gotten rid of this debt)Is it to verify that  this particular collection agency is indeed the current owner of the debt? I need to select a reason when I file a dispute- what should I select? None of them seem to fit.

            Couple more things to add. So the original debt is dated 10/2011. One of my credit reports says its expected to stay on the account until 9/2018. What does this mean?

            I prefer to somehow pay it off whether in full or a negotiated amount because I don't want to own anyone money anymore.

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            • #7
               

              Thanks for your help!

              To clarify, what is the reason for disputing when I know I originally owe this to the hospital? (Another thing-when I tried to look up the hospital bill it would not recognize the account number which makes me believe that the hospital has gotten rid of this debt)Is it to verify that  this particular collection agency is indeed the current owner of the debt? I need to select a reason when I file a dispute- what should I select? None of them seem to fit.

              Couple more things to add. So the original debt is dated 10/2011. One of my credit reports says its expected to stay on the account until 9/2018. What does this mean?

              I prefer to somehow pay it off whether in full or a negotiated amount because I don’t want to own anyone money anymore.

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              • #8
                These issues stay on your credit report for 7 years.  You can dispute it on the grounds that the bill was generated due to the insurance snaffoo that you mentioned originally, which wasn't your fault, right?

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                • #9
                  Correct, dispute because if they can't prove the debt they have to remove it. And be cautious if you end up contacting the company, because at that point you go from an unconfirmed in their system to a live target.

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                  • #10
                    Depends on what you want to do as many options in your case : let it ride until it drops off, challenge the claim and fight for removal if they can't prove, or negotiate the debt.

                    Kudos to you for taking it on.  We've had to deal with family owned debt that the creditors reached out to us even though we never were signators to the obligations.

                    Since you want to deal with them to resolve, the best is to contact the current claim agency and negotiate a sum to discharge the debt.   We were able to get a heavily discounted to 20% of the the original amount owed.  This is probably because we had no obligation and offered to assist to clear the debt.

                    You should be able to get somewhere 50% from my readings in the past as this has aged quite a bit and near the 7 year mark already.  You can actually ask for the documentation and review the obligation was you copay/cost share of which is xxx dollars, not the $900 because of the original hospital's error in bookkeeping on billing.

                    By contacting them, it does make you a LIVE target, so balance that with your contact.  Another option is for your parents to contact to offer assistance and in 'getting things straight' to get that significant reduction.

                     

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                    • #11
                      We had something similar... I'm not exactly used to getting calls from collection agencies, so I was a bit surprised. They gave me lots of attitude about why we hadn't paid our bills - I finally figured out it was at the place my wife worked - and we'd never seen a copy of it. Silly. We had the choice to pay either the hospital or the collection agency. Paying it off seemed to make it go away. Haven't seen it on our credit reports though. Thankfully. All for $56 or something.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the input!! Much appreciated!

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