putting old debts on credit report

housenewbieJuly 25, 2007


I've started getting letters/calls about a charge for a doctor visit from 2004. I haven't felt like sifting thru 3 years worth of files to see if I can find the original paperwork on it. My company has been thru several insurances since this time, and has been sold, so there will be no records of what insurance was in force or who might have been participating. There's mention of an insurance payment, so I've been assuming that this amount they're billing me is the 'contractual writeoff.'

The person that called today said the charge is being made because the doctor's group wasn't participating in this insurance at this time. I have no way to verify if this might be true. All I know is that I always have double-checked when seeing a new doctor or specialist to confirm that they're participating.

I have no intention of paying this money. So, my question is, if they put this on my credit report, does it start off as a 3-year-old charge? So that it will drop off in 4 years, when the 7-year period ends? Or do they get to add it as a 'new' delinquency because they've just now started trying to collect?

PS Canadians--I just got back from a trip to Quebec, where someone told me they're starting to talk about privatizing the healthcare system. All I can say is, DON'T LET THEM!!!! I don't care what inconveniences there may be now, they're NOTHING compared to what Americans (who aren't wealthy) go thru. Start rioting if you have to. Your costs WILL go up and your care WILL get worse. Just look at the statistics of hospital-acquired infections in the U.S. And infant mortality. And all the other stats where we're at the bottom of the developed world, and hovering just above Bangladesh. (No offense to Bangladesh.)

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I can't answer your question about the charge and your credit report, but I know there is a website with an awesome forum that answers questions exactly like yours and how to prevent it from getting on your report for healthcare issues. It has something to do with HIPPA. I tried to search for the message board and it's a really simple and supposedly easy name to remember and it was recco'd here.

As for Canadian healthcare - I'm Canadian and live in the US and it was a real shock for me when I came here. Talk about privatizing our public system has been going on for years. By law, they can't do it as it's against the Canada Health Act.

I will see if I can find the message board and post back to you.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 12:41PM
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Here's a message board that has all the info on how to dispute a Medical expense and remove or keep it off your credit report.

Here is a link that might be useful: Credit message board

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 1:22PM
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No way would I let this get on a credit report. First they should be able to tell you who the insurer was that they were participating with, then you can call that insurer.

If it is a larger employer, my hunch is they have to have records of who they were participating with, probably under HIPPA, otherwise how could you prove you had insurance then if it is ever in dispute

If you cannot get this information, then just write a letter outlining that you are certain they were participating with the insurance company at that time since it was always your policy to check. Also, since they were participating they are contractually bound to accept the reimbursement. Finally, the contract with the insurer of which you are a beneficiary specifically requires that you be notified of any balance within a reasonable time. Unless they had the wrong address 3 years does not seem reasonable. Finally say that if they do not cease and desist you will file a complaint with the office of professional conduct or education department since this behavior is hardly professional

Why would you accept having this on your credit report?

I once got a hospital bill for a baby birth when she was about 2 or 3. I called my insurer who said that it was past the time they could bill me (and should not have anyway since it was in network). They even gave me a letter to send to the hospital

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 1:13AM
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And infant mortality.

Uh... Yeah...

Did you try to get healthcare in CA while you were there?

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 11:54PM
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Have you tried to comprehend the Medicare pharmacy "benefit"? In doing so, did you come across any conceivable way in which it's not a complete gimmee to the big healthcare companies? My mom's union insurance is not allowed to cover the 'donut hole' gap.

Say what? All the propaganda about the primacy of private insurance, and then when you have it, they're not allowed to pay?? Bollocks.

However inconvenient, annoying, or occasionally incompetent the healthcare system may be in countries where the govt takes care of it, it CANNOT BE WORSE than this moronic 'system' we have where poor people simply have to go without, and the F-ing president says airily, "oh, they can just go to the emergency room." As if there are still any emergency rooms left in poor neighborhoods, since they've been overburdened for years with people who need care but can't pay. And as if this very practice hasn't ended up increasing the cost of all health care and insurance, as the hospitals have to raise their other prices to try to make up for the shortfall (you don't think that Tylenol really should cost $12/pill, do you?)

As one of the gainfully employed Americans whose employer carries health insurance, I'm part of the "system that works." I've seen the cost of premiums on my end go up anywhere from 5-12%/year (raises average 3%). Add to that increases in co-pays and exclusions, and it's well into double digits. Between my payments and my employer's the premiums (as of before the last increase) for 2 non-smoking adults with no chronic conditions to speak of (no diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc) are well over $6,000/year.

And if you further add in the hassle cost (which Jim Jubak of MSN Money has done in several of his columns on various topics) of trying to keep up with a drug formulary that changes monthly, so your refills are suddenly disallowed, or arcane rules for coverage that are never fully disclosed, or phone calls 3 years on about whether the doctor was on the 'allowed' list or not....it's enuf to make you simply give up and quit trying.

That's where I am now. I've already sent them one letter; it was after that that they called. At work. I refused to give my unlisted home number. I don't think there's any way for me to prove they were participating at that time. Not only has my company changed insurers multiple times since then, it's been bought and sold. So, who would have any records? And do I feel up to trying to traack them down? I'm already having enuf trouble trying to get my pension out of their hot little hands.

OK, /rant.

Thanks for the advice and the message board link. I'll try that out.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 1:13PM
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