received bill almost 2 years after service!

pompeiiJanuary 23, 2006

How long is too long to wait to send a bill?

About a month ago, I received an invoice from our local hospital system for a visit my husband made in april of '04. I've spoken to customer service who promised to send an itemized statement but she couldn't tell me why it took so long to send the bill. Then today I received another bill but still no itemized statement. It's only for the $30 copay, so no big deal really. But I wonder if there is a time limit of some sorts for billing someone for services rendered.

At this late date I really have no idea if my husband actually made the doctor visit or if we've already paid it. I'm tempted to tell them to go jump in the lake, but for $30 it's not really worth the hassle that would ensue.

So how late is too late?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

not sure about your area, but here in MS you must invoice within 3 years of service. any longer and you cannot legally collect if they do not pay. the reason for this is that MS will not allow collection agencies to persue a debt after 3 years from the date of the transaction UNLESS they were already persuing it before the 3 year time limit.

My wife had a hospital bill show up on her credit a few years back that was 34 months old, just 2 months before the deadline. Thing is, the bill was form BEFORE she turned 18 so it should have went to her parents. the admin staff had let her sign herself in even though legally she could not. Never did get that bill taken care of, it finally rolled off her report after 7 years.

for 30 bucks, you may want to just pay it to keep from getting dinged by a collection agency. call them up and be firm, and they may drop it altogether, but if they do MAKE them give you something in writing saying the debt has been forgiven. our local hospitals will usually give between 30 and 50% off the bill if you pay it in full, but if you do not get something saying it has been paid they ALWAYS come back a few months later and say you owe the balance!

document everything when dealing with them. get name and postion of anyone you speak with, and record the time and date of the call. i know this sounds extreme for 30.00, but they will send it to a collection agency who will report it on your credit.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Amazing coincidence! Yesterday's mail brought me a bill for a doctor's office visit in July 2004. It states that I paid my portion, but that my insurance was not paying up. I noticed that they were billing the insurance company we used in '05, not the one we used in '04.

Yes, it is "only" $28 they want, but I don't believe I owe it and I wonder what other bills from '04 they may decide to dun me for. This is a hospital-based doctors consortium.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'd contact them and say that you still want that itemized statement.

As someone said, log everything.

How about suggesting that you've been unable to find anyone alive in Pompeii - that they all died years ago.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"It's only for the $30 copay,..."

That is the itemization. It is a co-pay.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2006 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I suppose you're technically correct, but I kind of wanted to know which of us saw a doctor and which doctor did that person see. Instead of just receiving a statement saying $30 copay and date of service april of '04, with no details whatsoever. And I have to admit, it's a bit annoying to receive a bill at this late date. I could see a couple of months later, but a couple of years later??

But I'll just pay it because I have no way of knowing if it's already been paid, and because it's not worth the hassle over $30. Just aggravating, that's all.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 11:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi long-dead city in Italy,

If you send me a bill relating to service that you gave me from a month to three months or so ago, I'll probably pay it.

If you send me a bill relating to a service that you did for me darn near two years ago - I'm going to be pretty persistent in my request for full information about what that bill covers.

And if you get my back up about it - I'll quite likely get *really* persistent about your treating me fairly!!

I no get'um de account - you no get'um da money!!

If, after a lot of toing-and-froing, without your giving me satisfaction ...

... I'd probably send you a cheque.


When you contacted me about the problem ...

... I'd ask you for full particulars.

If you didn't provide them - you couldn't cash the cheque.

If you try to damage my credit rating - I'll dispute, saying that my records show that I sent you a cheque.

If you get testy, I'll probably tell you that I've mislaid the cheque that you sent back for signing.

I think that my son may have it in his luggage.

He's gone to Australia, India, etc. and I expect him back in ...

... probably somthing like a couple of years.

I should be able to send the cheque to you about then.

If you contact me to ask me to write a second cheque - I'll tell you that I've already writteen a cheque to cover that bill, and am not in the habit of writing two.

It takes a bit of ingenuity, patience - and a bit of humour - to beat them guys at their own game.

Good luck - in persisting until you get satisfaction.

Why let their inefficiency ...

... and refusal to honour your legitimate request for clarification ...

... possibly cost you money ...

... that you just might not really owe???

Have a great weekend - what's left ot it.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 28, 2006 at 3:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I questioned this about 6 months ago. I got a bill from my Dr's office and saw other things on the bill. I only owed for the visit I had recently and the other items were from visits I had 2 1/2 years prior when I was pregnant with my DD. (Most of them were for high risk care I had done and the insurance company should know not to question that because they've paid for two of my other pregnancies that ended prematurely and required extra hospitalization and care...I have a history..hello?!) I asked if that's normal and the billing dept w/ the group I dr with said that yes, you would be surprised at how long an insurance company will go before they pay up! Amazing huh?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 10:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yup. Amazing.

I work as a contractor doing a service that is often paid partially by insurance companies. It is so impossible to follow what sessions I have been paid for that I just don't bother. I don't want to get all upset and get on the phone with the insurance companies (when the company I do the work for already has a billing department to do this) trying to figure if there is anything I can do to get paid. I figure my health and happiness are worth more than the money (and I have a DH who brings home the majority of the bacon). Friends who have no second income spend a lot of time tracking payments and talking with Blue Cross and the other insurers. So if the insurance companies can jerk us around for this long, and then our office can't bill the customer until the insurance pays, it can sometimes be a year before we know what to bill the customer. For a more complicated hospital bill, especially if there are two or more payers (ie: Medicare and a private insurer), two years can happen. It may have been set aside for some reason and the biller is only now giving it individual attention, or they recently hired someone to get rid of the backlog of old unsettled accounts. It does happen.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 1:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In the US that attitude can get you banned from a hospital's regular services, except for the emergency room. Everyone who goes to the ER, by law, must be treated.

But I agree with you. I would ask for a paper signed by the patient, which showed the diagnosis, and the doctor's name, and the full date, not just month and year. If there's no documentation, don't pay.

Sometimes their computer will crash, and they will lose the entry that showed you paid, and you'll get billed again, because their backups did NOT record the payment (for example, their computer crashed before new backups could be made).

I wonder what the statute of limitations is for billing medical services in different states.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 1:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


That's why I prefer to live in Canada.

Most doctor visits, except face-lift stuff and other elective situations - costs me nothing. Haven't considered a breast-implant, lately.

Same lack of fee for hospital for necessary services.

If I ride in an ambulance - I pay (usually something like $250., I think).

I have PSA tests, as family history of prostate cancer - earlier cost was $20., more recently, $40.00 - for more complicated test.

Pills in hosp. free, I hear.

Well - there is a fee, i.e. cost for our medical services, of course: but I don't pay directly.

Earlier, for a few years, no pay-direct medical insurance in this prov. (still none in some provinces - health-care is a provincial issue) but they reinstituted it last year.

Geared to income - something like $600. annual fee for me, if I recall correctly. Pay it with provincial income tax.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 4:32PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Do I need to give a 1099-misc to the lady who cleans for me?
For the first time ever, I began having a lady clean...
Buying a new house financial questions?
This seems silly, but I don't have anyone else to talk...
Garrett Financial Network
Does anyone have experience with Garrett Financial...
Accounting Question
I was hoping there'd be an accounting forum her on...
Ontario - Canadian law question
Hi: I am hoping I can find someone on the forum who...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™