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Being sued, what do I do?


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Hi guys, I was pointed this direction and I am hoping you can direct me! I will try to be brief. 

 

Emergency room visit, resulted in 4 bills, I paid three in full, never received the 4th. 

 

In April, received a call from a collection agency about unpaid bill of $690. I stated that we had not received the bill and asked if it had been sent to our insurance. They said no. I contacted the medical company and was informed that they had incorrect information on our insurance. They said they tried to contact us about the incorrect information in writing, but we never replied. I gave them correct information and it was submitted to insurance. 

 

Collections called back a week later and I told them it was a mistake by the medical company and it had now been submitted to insurance. I called my insurance and was told they had paid all but 56 dollars of the claim, but they were unsure who I should pay the remaining to. The medical company said they could no longer accept any payment. 

 

I got a letter from collections saying the account needed to be paid in full (690) within 7 days or they were taking legal action. This letter was dated two weeks after my insurance processed the payment. 

 

I waited for the remainder of the bill thinking we had crossed in the mail. 

 

Beginning of July, my husband found a summons wrinkled and water logged on our property dated June 20. Collections is suing me for the 690 plus legal, interest, etc. Attached to the summons was a bill from the medical company that has the dates in May when my insurance sent the payments on it. The bill said the remaining balance is zero.

 

We drafted an answer stating the incorrect amount and lack of service. 

 

After they received the answer, the legal office called me and said the bill automatically zeros the account when it is sent to collections so that is incorrect, but they said they had received my insurance payment and asked if I would settle for $243. I asked why I was not given the opportunity to pay the remaining balance ($56) after my insurance had paid their portion. They said that even though the payment was received on 5/5/14, their office did not process it until 7/3/14. It was my responsibility to call and inform them that they had received a payment if I wanted to avoid legal action. 

 

I have letters from the medical company saying they were paid in May and from my insurance that they made the payment.

 

So what do I do? I am completely happy and willing to pay what I owe, the 56. Is there anyway I can get out of paying all their fees? 

 

Thank you so much

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I know it isn't a lot of money in question, I just don't think I should have to pay all the extra stuff for a bill I have never tried to get out of paying! As soon as we became aware of it, I had it submitted to insurance. I even had a different bill from this same company I was making monthly payments on when collections first contacted me. So frustrating, and oh my heck the collections people are mean. I'm not trying to get out of what we owe, just the extra stuff if possible. 

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Well you have a case, the question is how far are you willing to go? It is going to cost you money to file your answer with the court, and your personal time to study up on your rules of civil procedure. I am all about principal, and fight because I know what's right, however it might cost you more in the long run to do that.

One thing you could do is counter offer their settlement with your own figure, maybe half of what they want, which is still more than 56.00. Or you can fight it, or accept their settlement. Those are your options. Figure it out before your answer is due, as if they get a default, you will owe the entire amount they are suing you for.

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Type up your own settlement offer and send it to them certified mail. Leave a place for them to sign, and get a signed copy back.

Make sure you include language in it like paid in full, and they will not report alleged outstanding balance on your credit reports. They will not sell the remainder of the debt they are claiming, and they will dismiss with prejudice the lawsuit upon payment. Don't admit to the debt in the letter, it is always an alleged debt, you simply want to be done. You might google some stipulation letters to get an idea of the format.

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Thank you so much for the help. I googled some letters and I am seeing two approaches. One where you explain why you are unable or unwilling to pay the amount and another that is more succinct... here's what I will pay, here is what you will do. Which approach do I take? Do I give any background, such as pointing out the dates that my insurance paid? 

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After they received the answer, the legal office called me and said the bill automatically zeros the account when it is sent to collections so that is incorrect, but they said they had received my insurance payment and asked if I would settle for $243. I asked why I was not given the opportunity to pay the remaining balance ($56) after my insurance had paid their portion. They said that even though the payment was received on 5/5/14, their office did not process it until 7/3/14. It was my responsibility to call and inform them that they had received a payment if I wanted to avoid legal action. 

 

This is the biggest crock of manure I have ever heard.  It is NOT your financial expense because they waited two months to process the payment.  That argument from them will NOT hold up in a court of law.  In fact, ask them to explain which law says you are required to pay their fees because of their delay in processing payment over which you had no control and which law requires that you inform them they actually received the payment.  

 

I would be calling any and every consumer attorney because what they are doing is illegal.  They are not entitled to added fees because of their incompetence.  They have filed suit for an amount they are not legally entitled to and they demand payment of the full amount knowing the entire time your insurance company had paid 95% of that bill.  I would be filing a counter claim against them for violations of the FCDPA and consumer protection laws.  Make sure you name the provider as a defendant in the counter claim because they are responsible for the actions of the collection agency they hire.

 

I would also file a complaint with the state insurance commissioner and the state board of medicine that licenses providers.  Then there is the complaint against the law firm with the state bar association for filing a fraudulent amount lawsuit.

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You are not responsible for the errors of others.  I was almost in your situation a few months ago after I had surgery.  Fortunately, it never got to collections because I was a patient in a hospital that I work for and I was able to get my diagnosis re-coded and re-submitted to my insurance company, at the same time I told the Customer Service Manger in the billing dept what happened and he said he would not put it in Collections until my insurance company had a chance to re-process and pay my claim, which they eventually did.

 

I would do what Clydesmon said.  I would also send a letter by Certified Mail to the CEO of the hospital,  and to the CEO of your medical insurance company, explain what happened and ask for their assistance.  End your letter with something like, "I would appreciate your prompt assistance in resolving  this matter or I will seek legal redress as well as file complaints with the appropriate governmental and regulatory agencies."

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The medical company this all goes back to states that they sent multiple letters telling us that they had the incorrect insurance information. While I did not receive any letters and the other companies who billed insurance for the visit that day obviously had no problems, I fear that a judge will take their word over the "non paying client" you know? 

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