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Thinking about letting ER bill go to collections under the following pretenses. Am I correct?


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Am I correct that once sent to collections a medical debt can't show up on credit reports for 180 days? Is it also true that once PIF, medical collections have to be removed? long term, that's all I really care about. My reports have 0 collections and I plan on keeping it that way.

 

Background: Had to go to ER with (still) unknown medical issue back in Nov. I've been working in extreme pain since then. I have a HDHP with HSA so I hit my deductible and yearly out of pocket in 1 shot. They billed $XX,XXX. Insurance negotiated billing knocked it down into the high 4 figures, then insurance payments knocked my out of pocket down around a few grand. My HSA has around 40% of the total available. It is contributed to on a weekly basis. I tried to negotiate paying over time with my HSA but was turned down and told to get a loan. If I made very slightly less I would be eligible for financial assistance (actually paying $0 out of pocket) and/or Medicaid. Instead I pay around 20% of my gross income for health benefits. Anyway, that's not particularly relevant - I just think it's dumb they wont accept payments over time, even if I contribute and pay the IRS maximums from my HSA on a prorated basis.

 

So, it will soon be 120 days and they've threated with collections. I was scrambling thinking about sending them my entire HSA balance and putting the rest on credit cards, because I do not want my clean credit ruined for 7 years. But then I thought "Hmmmm. Weren't there some changes and extra protections when it comes to medical bills?" and I came across the info/assumptions in my 1st paragraph. I plan on paying it, I can pay it easily in 6 months, but paying in full by next week is going to be rough, especially since I still don't know what is wrong with me (have a followup with PCP next week, at least). 

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Have you checked your EOMBs carefully for errors?? Are these charges all from one provider (hospital?). If you plan to delay paying the OC for 6 Months and want to protect your credit, make sure you pay with the HIPAA letter insert "a". Otherwise your payment will be transferred to the CA and it will report as a paid collection, which is just as bad as an unpaid one as it is also shown as derogatory.

Meanwhile get your records in shape by following this guide;

https://whychat.me/GUIDEBOOK.html

 

You should also check to see if your hospital takes MY CARE FINANCE and if so use that.

Edited by Why Chat
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The charges to me look legit. I've paid 2 smaller bills and this is the "big bill." This one is literally 100 times as much as the next one. The allowable charges were knocked down considerably. I had a lot of tests and lab work, scans, IVs, etc. As mentioned I have a "high deductible." 

 

Thanks, I've done some more research. Something I read claimed that paid medical collections were removed, but it looks like that only applies if they are paid by an insurer. The Experian website says that all the major CRAs will not report medical for at least 180 days. So it looks like if it is sent to collections next week I still have around 60 days to PIF before it would hit credit reports.

 

They are offering to finance the full amount through something called "Access One." I will have to call them Monday. I am curious if I will be able to pay them via my HSA. I was told they can do 0% for up to 12 months. If worst comes to worst I will put it all on credit cards this week and then attempt to reimburse myself.  I just don't want to tie up those funds if I don't absolutely have to. The cut off date for sending to collections is the day I have my next Dr appt and I may even end up back at the ER before then. I'm sure at some point I will have to deal with the hospital (they and my Drs are all part of the same medical group).

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Why would someone even CONTEMPLATE allowing things to report when there are so many more viable options to avoid medical billings from hitting the reports? 

 

The thing that does MANY people in is the lack of communication with the hospital.  There are substantial number of facilities that WILL work with the now-former-patient and have some manner of indigency program that can write down costs even after all of the other negotiated fees were addressed.  The key is taking the hour or so to go sit down with the finance people...

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4 hours ago, centex said:

Why would someone even CONTEMPLATE allowing things to report when there are so many more viable options to avoid medical billings from hitting the reports? 

 

The thing that does MANY people in is the lack of communication with the hospital.  There are substantial number of facilities that WILL work with the now-former-patient and have some manner of indigency program that can write down costs even after all of the other negotiated fees were addressed.  The key is taking the hour or so to go sit down with the finance people...

Thanks for the response. Part of it is that I have very little time to do anything. Since the pandemic era I have a "day job" with mandatory overtime as well as business requirements that leave me with little time to do anything else. Can't even go to stores and do basic errands except for a very small window 1 day a week. I tried emailing, can only call regular business hours. I don't disagree with you. I was turned down after explaining the whole situation, for any flexibility. I was told basically collections or get a loan for the full amount. I will sort it out this week. Thanks for the comments. 

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2 hours ago, gregcjackson said:

Thanks for the response. Part of it is that I have very little time to do anything. Since the pandemic era I have a "day job" with mandatory overtime as well as business requirements that leave me with little time to do anything else. Can't even go to stores and do basic errands except for a very small window 1 day a week. I tried emailing, can only call regular business hours. I don't disagree with you. I was turned down after explaining the whole situation, for any flexibility. I was told basically collections or get a loan for the full amount. I will sort it out this week. Thanks for the comments. 

It is a WHOLE lot easier to deny someone from a distance than when they are plopped down across the desk from you...when you rely on email, you get canned responses. 

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