Being Threatened By Collections - Not Our Debt!!

rivkadrAugust 30, 2006

About 4 or 5 months ago, we received a bill in the mail for $1500 from a medical diagnostics lab. It was for tests done in January of 2006, and the information attached to the tests was my husband's name, and our old health insurance. The doctor listed was our old doctor.

We haven't had that insurance since 06/2005, when my husband quit his job at the time and moved to a different company. We haven't seen that doctor since the spring of 2005. We don't even live in that area anymore.

My husband spoke to someone at the lab and explained that there was some sort of mixup -- that it couldn't be him, that he had had no tests done, and that we didn't use that doctor or insurance anymore. We thought it was taken care of.

Then we got a letter a month ago from a collections agency, demanding payment from us. My husband refuted the claim, by explaining that it was not him.

We just received the following letter from the laboratory:

We are the laboratory that has sent you to collection. We have nothing in our notes showing that you have spoken to anyone in our laboratory. Please call xxxx to arrange for payment as soon as possible before this has gone into hard collection. We also have a copy of your license on file that was sent to us the day of your visit to Dr. xxxx. There is no mistake with someone else using your information at the clinic at the time of service.

What do we do??? Hire a lawyer? Keep refuting it? This is going to go on his credit report, if it isn't already there. Obviously, either the doctor's office messed up somehow, or someone is using his information at the office fraudulently. This is completely unbelievable.

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Call your credit card companies and ask for new cards & numbers at the very least.

Call old employer and report this to them.

Keep a good watch on bank accounts and such.

Does "Identity Theft" ring a bell?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 1:45AM
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Call the lab and dispute the debt make sure to write down the date and the person you spoke to.
Follow up with a certified letter disputing the debt and requesting proof of the debt.
If you haven't received your free copy of DH credit report this year I would get one to see if this is reporting. If it is file a dispute with the Credit bureau.
It also may not hurt to call the old Doctors office and ask them if they are showing a record of this.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 6:24AM
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I had this happen to me.
Same thing, but less amount of money luckily.

This was about two years ago, so I am trying to remember exactly what I did and in what order.

First off, I thought it was wrong also. I called the insurance company and they said it wasn't. Medical things don't get billed when you go to the dr. Some don't get billed untill a year later!!!! I know HOW STUPID! So if there is a problem or a mistake you don't find out until later.

I believe the insurance company told me the first date of billing or the date it was filed or something (it was the date I went to the dr)

I then called my dr. and asked (they should have this on file!!) if I had visited their office on this date. I had. ok, Well what was this charge for?
They couldn't tell me. UM OK? They could tell me the RESULTS of the test but couldnt' tell me what it was for..WHAT???
ok. So they had to send me the information about the test they did Although I knew I was "negative" I didn't know for what. So it turns out it was a normal routine PAP smear. Well I called back and asked why this wasn't covered. Turns out the nurse made a clerical billing error and instead of a routine thing it made is seem like I wanted/needed it so it wasn't covered.

I know insurance companies are STUPID (did I say that??)

In the mean time the collections agency was sending me letters about how I would be in trouble. When I called them and explained I wasn't paying it just yet the woman said because it was under 200$ it wouldn't be on my credit report anyways, so I didn't bother paying.

So my dr. office somehow fixed and resubmitted the paperwork and the charge was dismissed or something.

So I think my dr. visit was in 2002 and I didn't recieve the bill until 2004. I asked the insurance company how they can even charge me for something they LOST for 2 years! I guess it is legal.

ugh, I am so sorry you have to go through this. It is very frusterating.

So my advice: find the date that the bill is from (dr visit) and call that dr to confirm that you or your husband were there on that date and then determine what was done and if it should be covered by insurance or not.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 9:00AM
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This happened to us last year, but with a credit card debt. Our immediate concern was, of course, identity theft. We went promptly to the police dept. to file a claim and visited with a very nice detective who told us what to do. It turned out that it was NOT identity theft, but someone with the same name. SSNs had been switched in the company's records somehow. However, no amount of explaining helped any. They continued calling and harrassing us, regardless of the fact that my husband would have been nine years old at the time the debt was incurred!!!

The last time they called, the man was VERY rude to me, telling me that I was trying to get out of a debt that was obviously mine, etc. I VERY CALMLY explained to them that we had obtained the services of a lawyer and if they called back, they would be promptly sued. They have never called back. Of course, we did NOT have the services of a lawyer, but it was just what they needed to hear. If they had continued bothering us, we WOULD have hired a lawyer to write them a nasty letter and it would have been solved. ;)

I suggest doing exactly as myfask stated. Write them a certified letter insisting that proof of the debt be sent to you immediately. Also explain that should you find this debt is NOT yours, you WILL be obtaining the services of a lawyer. That should get them motivated to find out what's going on.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 9:05AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

At every visit, don't you have to sign a form?...something about the privacy act and disclosing info?

Might they also have a signed copy of that? Can they give you a copy of it showing the date?

I'd check with your old doctor, and see what he has on file. He should have a record where he ordered the tests, why he ordered them (routine, etc) and a copy of the results, I would think.

So what if they have a copy of his license. They have had it for years probably.

My first suspicion would be that the lab people screwed up. I am a cancer survivor, and had back surgery, so I've seem 'lots' of bills and 'lots' of screw-ups.

Start you a folder to keep track of all info concerning this case. Keep a record of 'who' said 'what' and at 'what' number, with the date and time of the call/visit. Keep track of everything.

Cover your/his butt too in the event of identity theft.

Please keep us posted as to what all you find out.

Here is something that comes to mind. A friend received a bill from a collection agency, claiming a bill had not been paid. it was for a surgery about 2 years prior. She had never received bills b4 saying she owed anything, then out of no where the hospital wants their money. Someone must have lost her old bill behind a desk or something.

My suspicion in your case, is that maybe the actual date of service is 'not' Jan 2006, but a much previous date. Now someone is trying to cover up their mistake. possibly the tests done will match up with something you hubby had done prior to leaving that doctor. I'd ask for all medical records from him...or the last couple of years worth anyway.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 9:07AM
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I'm with Sue. I have received on two separate occassions bills for medical treatment years after I had the treatment. Call the lab and get the dates of service, etc. Do not let them push you around - stay strong and get more information from them.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 10:16PM
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We drove to the Doctor's office today. The test results were in my husband's medical records. The tests are definitely not his (one of the tests was a urinalysis, and DH hasn't peed in a cup in years) -- whoever the person is, they have herpes, and triglycerides through the roof! So...not him.

We talked to the doctor, and explained the situation, and he said he would call the lab and take care of it. No idea how this happened. We'll call the lab and the collections agency on Tuesday to make sure. If this isn't cleared up quickly, we'll be contacting a lawyer.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 11:11PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Good to hear that you are getting to the bottom of things.

I would give it some time, and then get your credit report pulled to see for sure that it isn't on there in any way.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 11:45PM
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Are you sure it's not some test you had done a year ago?

In my work I see companies' health care expenditures through their insurance companies. You'd be surprised that some of these expense claims are still pending after a year or more.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:21PM
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Oh, I just read you last post. Glad your husband doesn't have herpes.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:24PM
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