Collections Law/Medical debt
This past year (2014) I found out about a medical bill for 509.00 from a local hospital from 2012. When I found out about the bill I contacted the creditor, I requested on several occasions to have an itemized bill sent to me, which they state they have sent. To this date I have never received an itemized bill just a statement with my id number, amount owed, and date of service. Months ago I finally was able to get a nice lady to tell me over the phone what the debt is from. Still no actual itemized bills. I have asked the debt collector company for help in finding out this information, still no answer. The hospital states they have called me,I have never received a call or voicemail from them except when I have left a message asking someone to call me. Once finding out what the debt was from I did not feel I owed it because at the doctor office I sign a form every year stating that my labs go to the hospital where I am employed for payment. A couple weeks ago I was able to find out why my lab was sent where it was, I called the creditor and left a message with no answer and then Monday I receive a summons. I have called the creditor, the previous debt collector and the attorney office and they all tell me they cant help me. It is not so much that I owe the bill but that I was never given a chance to work with them. I never received itemized bill. Because it was over two years my insurance company would not consider paying the bill as it was necessary to send specimen there. (it was discovered the hospital was sending the bills to the wrong address for two years and the office states that the hospital was given the correct billing info).The only thing the debt collector- keybridge would do was send me bills even knowing my concerns and with me asking for help to determine that I truly owed this debt. Now it is in an attorney office, they told me they cant help me to call creditor, the creditor tells me they cant help me call attorney, and original debt collector said they cant help me call the attorney. It was not until recent did I finally get the facts of this debt, with no chance of paying the debt and therefore not have my credit take a hit. Do I have any rights? Any insight with this would be appreciated. I have been dealing with this for months and it has really taken an emotional toll on me just trying to get answers and creditors to work with me.
Thank you for your question and I am sorry you find yourself in this predicament. As far as an itemized, the hospital was sending what they considered to be sufficient information. They are very hesitant to send out anything with the DX on it due to the very strict privacy laws that are in place (HIPAA). The collection agency is only required to send you validation of the debt such as a document with the client's name, the account number and the balance.
My question to you would be: did your doctors office sent a copy of the document directing that bill be sent to your place of employment. If they did, you can and should get an attorney to represent you at the debt hearing. The first thing you should do is to get someone on the phone at the attorney's office, explain the situation to them. At this point, offer a settlement amount of 50%. You must have the funds available to pay this amount on hand. In all likelihood, this debt was purchased from the hospital for pennies on the dollar.
I wish I had better news for you, but about all that will be asked in Magistrates Court is whither or nor you received the services. Your response will of course be yes. The Magistrate will ask if you are prepared to pay the balance plus court cost. If your answer is no, the Magistrate will issue a judgment against you. This judgment will accrue interest according to the laws in your state.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.