Anyone who has been reading My Two Dollars for the past 6-7 months or so has probably read about the medical issues I had going on and the post I wrote about how many bills I was getting from various doctors and hospitals. Luckily, it looks like I am in the clear from what they thought I had… but I have a folder about the size of an encyclopedia full of bills, and I am now up to over $5,000 in paid medical invoices. However, in between all the ones I did receive, one of them never made it to my door…and instead of contacting me and asking me about the one single bill that they did not get paid for, the hospital instead sent the bill to a collections agency – who then proceeded to start calling and sending threatening letters about my credit being damaged. Like Five Cent Nickel who had an experience kind of like mine, this was the first time I had ever gotten a collections notice – and I was not too happy about it. Especially seeing as it wasn’t my fault that the bill wasn’t paid!
How a hospital can think I all of a sudden became a deadbeat is beyond me, as I had already paid them over $4,000 in medical bills…did they really think I was going to skip out on that $141? Really? They have my phone number and they obviously have my address, as they have been sending me bills since November, so it should have been very easy for them to just contact me and let me know that they had not received payment as of yet. Very strange indeed. I called the hospital and all they told me was that they had sent the bill once and since it had not gotten paid, they turned it over to collections 38 days past it’s due date. Talk about hurrying up the process!
Luckily, the collections agent, once I spoke to her, was very nice. The woman told me that nothing gets reported to the credit bureaus until 30 days after they notify their clients and don’t hear back…but since I had called them 2 days after I got their letter, nothing was going to appear on my credit. I paid the bill with my credit card and I am done with the collections agency…but truth be told, they were a lot nicer than the hospital staff was.
I don’t know how unorganized or older people deal with their medical bills when they have something major going on. I have stacks of paper from my insurance company that sometimes match up to the stacks from the hospitals, which sometimes match up with the stacks from the doctors themselves. Double bills arrive all the time, when payments cross in the mail and I have to figure out what percentage of this latest bill was already paid and what percentage wasn’t. I am very organized, and it has been difficult for me to keep track of this stuff. I cannot imagine what it would be like for some other people. There has to be an easier way to do this…and maybe that could start with not sending people to collections for bills that are only 38 days overdue by no fault of their own!
Photo by takomabibelot.