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Collections question for attorney

Old 07-01-2007, 10:09 PM
  #1  
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Default Collections question for attorney

Ok, here's a synopsis of the details the best I can put together....
3 years ago I had to see a specialist for an irregular cardiac screen with subsequent follow ups every 6 months or so- they have since determined I am fine but still go for a semi annual general check up. During this time I switched employers and have been with my present company(Company B) for 18 months. A little more than a year ago, I received a letter from the hospital saying that we owed money on a visit and that we made a payment of $100 on whatever date and we owe more. My wife, being a doctor, stays on top of our insurance payments and medical bills and has caught several billing errors made by this hospital and the hospital where our son was born, where they even charged us for two circumsisions!!!! One of the errors that my wife found was that this hospital billed the insurance I had with my previous employer(company A), after I had started my new job with company B. My wife contacted that department's billing and they said they would straighten it out with the insurance company for company A.
What comes next???? A letter from a collection's agency saying that we were severely delinquent on this bill. WTF?!?! My wife, again calls the billing department for the hospital and they give her the answer that insurance for company A won't pay a claim over a year old, even though I worked at that company at the time of the visit I think this is about. So now I have a collections agent calling me at home and then they called me at work about 6 months ago. Of course, I wasn't happy to hear from them at work so I blew up a little bit and told them that they needed to contact the hospital or show me where we owed money. The collections agent said they didn't have to prove anything and that we owed money and how would I like to pay, over the phone with a check or post dated check? They also noted that my wife paid $100 of the total that was owed on X date and that was a sign to them of us oweing the money. I blew them off, not knowing if they were legit or not, demanded where they show me where we owed money, and hung up the phone telling them to never call me at work again.
Just returned home from a weekend away a little while ago and had a note from the county clerk saying I have a court date regarding my case of this hospital vs me!!!
Again, sorry for the lack of details, I'm just going off of memory of what this could be almost 2 years ago. I have no problem at all paying this darn thing if I need to, but like I said, we have caught bills where we were double billed(double billed for circumsision- come on), been told that we haven't paid and then we give a check # and date it was processed, had the wrong insurance billed, etc.
I just have a feeling that this is a false or overinflated charge(by not billing proper insurance) but have no way of knowing for sure until they can come up with a sure enough invoice, especially since we have had so many doctors visits the past few years. I do not want to go to court and have to pay the attorney's fee as well.
Is what I'm asking unreasonable by wanting them to prove to me what we owe and why? If you were in my situation, would you be skeptical of this bill also? Any advice?
I'm calling the collection company's attorney some time tomorrow to talk to him and ask him the same questions.
gordo35 is offline  
Old 07-01-2007, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Collections question for attorney

Note: the collection company's "attorney" is probably the owner of the collection company. These problems occur much more often than you can imagine. For starters, I would fire off a letter to the hospital (with a CC to the CEO) and a letter to the collection agency advising them that their mistake should not cost you money or affect your credit reputation. Advise them that any negative credit reporting will be met with a lawsuit of your own.

As for the lawsuit you are dealing with, depending on the amount, you may have to appear in court. In Fla, anything under $5,000 is small claims and requires the parties' appearance at an initial pretrial conference. If these fools can't show you taht you owe the bill, legitimately, then how can they prove their case? I think it's time for you to start a paper trail. Depending on the amount of money at issue, it may be easier to pay. I have 2 basic rules: you don't use good money to chase bad money and, you don't get involved in legal proceedings based upon "the principle" of things. Getting involved in legal proceedings can get very costly, very quickly, so economic decisions need to be made.

Note: I am NOT a collections attorney, but I deal with insurance issues all the time. You are being sued. You need real legal advice, not advice through some internet forum - not even THT. Also, very importantly, there are some statute of limitations issues which you will need to address BEFORE you talk to this company and acknowledge the debt. I would not call the collection agency until I spoke to an attorney.

Either way, whatever you decide, good luck.

If you want, you can PM me with your contact info and I will help you however I can.
rkatz is offline  
Old 07-02-2007, 12:43 AM
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Default RE: Collections question for attorney

Gordo I had a heart attack about 2 years ago and after the insurance Co. paid their share and I paid my share the hospital still claimed that I owed them about 10,000.00. To make a very long story short , after they got an attorney involved I called the state attorney general and they handled it. It is very common and the Attorney Generals office even has a special health care division because of the high number of problems with hospital billing. Call the Attorney Generals office, it's free and they may help.
dmartin is offline  
Old 07-02-2007, 06:16 AM
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Default Re: Collections question for attorney

One way or another they have to provide proof of the amount owed. If they can prove it....pay it. The collection agency IS an ATTORNEYS office 99 percent of the time so be careful what you say to them.
BlueMarlin is offline  

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