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College Health Insurance Waived, Sent to Collections


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Good morning,


My daughter has a health insurance issue.  She went to a SUNY school and we waived the health insurance that they tack onto every bill at colleges nowadays.We did it on the last eligible day. During the process, I thought I was going to have a stroke because they were saying that even though it was the last day, it really was past the deadline because of the time it took to get the paperwork over to the college. The SUNY (State University of NY) schools hire an outside company to do the health insurance for them. 


We sent paperwork to the school offices, the insurance company, we were on the phone for literally four hours. I thought it was taken care of, but we got a letter from SUNY stating that we still owed for the health insurance. I called them, wrote to them, sent them the faxes we sent that showed the insurance cards for both my husband and myself. OK, it's taken care of, they said!


About a month ago, I got a collection letter for this. I sent them the letter requesting the info required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The collection agency, Mercantile, sent me a letter back with the SUNY bill, and the insurance as a line item only. Nothing that shows we requested it, or signed for it. I am hesitant to send them copies of the faxes that we sent the insurance information, because they have nothing to do with that, and I don't want to give them any information about us. But the college won't discuss the bill with us, since they sent it to collections.


I sent them the failure to validate letter, saying that they didn't send me any copies of papers that show I agreed to pay what they say I owe. (Actually, I wrote it with my daughter, since it is in her name.)  Of course they didn't send papers showing she agreed to pay this, because we didn't ask for the health insurance (colleges are slick now - they just stick in in their items) and actually waived it!!! I actually wrote this: 


I am sending this letter to you in response to your response to my request for validation that I received on June 27, 2014. Be advised, my first notice is enclosed and requested verification of the following, pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 1692g Sec. 809 (B). In accordance with this Fair Debt Act, you have an obligation to provide me with the following, none of which you provided in the list you sent me.

·         Explain and show me how you calculated what you say I owe – there was no explanation as to how you calculated the total

·         Provide me with copies of any papers that show I agreed to pay what you say I owe – there was no agreement that I requested or agreed to pay the health insurance fee. In fact, I dealt with SUNY Buffalo and the health insurance provider numerous times, proving that I had insurance through both my mother and my father. We sent all of the paperwork they requested, and they stated that the matter was taken care of. 


Is this the correct next step? Is there something I am missing? This is not something I will EVER pay. My husband pays for health insurance, I pay through the teeth for health insurance through work. But this is under my daughter's name, and I do not want them wrecking her credit.


Thank you very much,


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Having attended college in NYS myself, realize that under state law, unless your daughter was covered by outside health insurance AND you provide the college with proof of insurance, the college cannot waive the health insurance. I ran into that at RIT but since I had no other insurance to fall back on, I had to pay the bill (which was fine because I ended up getting more out of it than I ever paid into it). It sounds like you did that but after the deadline.

The 2nd issue is what the collector sent you was considered validation according to the FDCPA. If you tried to take to court what you claim above, it would get tossed. Validation, as case law states, really is not a hard hurdle to surpass.


The problem you have is now, the school will withhold your daughter's transcripts, diploma, or not let her register for classed until this is paid up. This also means your daughter cannot transfer to another school with her earned credits. You will probably end up having to pay this and then sue SUNY and the insurance company for your money back and hope that the judge sees that you demanded the waiver and provided the proof on time. Sometimes, if there is a postmark on the envelope within the time frame (or you sent it certified mail and can prove you mailed it in time), the deadline is considered as having been met as far as the courts are concerned.

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We DID send in the waiver by the deadline - that is the reason I am fighting this. They were playing with the deadline.  And she had already transferred, she only spent one semester there, so we haven't had an issue with the credits, since the school she is in now won't take them anyway. 


I faxed the info over and I think i kept the fax records. I could also ask the phone company for proof of the phone call. And how can they validate I ordered something if there is no order? I'm not being ornery, really, it just doesn't make sense. Anyone can claim I ordered anything from them without some kind of proof. What am I missing here?


Thank you!


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Another fine story brought to you by the Affordable Care Act. Thank you Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches you have done a fine job of supplying jobs to debt collectors.

I think you can prove that it was waivable and because the president extended the deadline they will lose, That means they are enforcing something that was not in force at the time. Which is why they rushed it to a collection agency.

This could become a landmark case. You should seek legal counsel, this could be huge.

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