What To Do If You Get A Fraudulent Medical Bill
Unaffordable medical bills are a major source of financial stress, collection agency harassment, and bankruptcy filings. Medical bills that you cannot afford, even though you knew for a long time that you needed treatment and tried to budget for it, are bad enough, but it only adds insult to injury if the bill comes as a surprise, such as when you go to the emergency room and get separate bills from the hospital and the doctor who treated you there. (It should come as at least some consolation that, thanks to the No Surprises Act, the amounts patients owe on those bills have been getting smaller.) Worst of all is when you get a bill that you obviously do not owe, such as a bill for treatments that you never received. Sometimes these bills are the result of simple mix-ups and are easily resolved, but in other cases, they are cases of medical billing fraud. If you think that you have been a target of medical billing fraud, contact a Philadelphia debt collection abuse lawyer.
Contact the Health Care Provider Directly
If you get a bill that you think is fraudulent, such as one where you never received the services listed, or one that is identical to a bill you already paid, the first step is to contact the doctor’s office or hospital directly. It is possible that it was a mistake; perhaps a billing clerk forgot to reclassify your bill as paid off, or perhaps the office sent you a bill for charges that a different patient incurred. If this is the case, ask the billing clerk to fix the mistake, and they will do it. If they insist that you owe the money, this could be a sign of medical billing fraud, in which case arguing with a billing clerk probably will not help.
Contact the Insurance Company or a National Hotline
The next step is to escalate the situation by contacting another party that is probably being charged even more for the bill. If you have private health insurance, call the number on the back of your insurance card. If you have health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, call 1-800-318-2596. If you are insured through Medicare, call 1-800-632-4327.
Notify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Even though changes to credit reporting policies have recently changed to protect consumers from situations like these, the fraudulent medical bill could still appear on your credit report before they get resolved, lowering your credit score. By contacting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you can dispute these charges before or after they appear on your credit reports.
Contact Louis S. Schwartz About Avoiding Medical Billing Fraud
A Philadelphia consumer law attorney can help you if health care providers are trying to get you to pay debts that you do not owe, regardless of what kind of health insurance you have. Contact Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to set up a free, confidential consultation.