I was turned over to a collection agency for my son's medical bill 2 years after visit. He lives with his father in another state and I carry health insurance. I never knew he went to doctor, and claim was for shots which have now been turned in coded correctly. I don't sew how without my signature and never receiving a bill for 2 years they can put against my credit. Am I responsible if the insurance does not pay since I have never signed any papers for doctor's office and had no knowledge of visit up until now? How do I get collection agency and doctors office to remove from my credit??? I have turned over to consumer protection and better business but still have not gotten resolution.
2 Answers from Attorneys
You get a lawyer and sue the collection agency. If what you say is true, the debt will be removed from your credit and you may collect damages from them.
You do not indicate how old your son is. If he is a minor and you carry the health insurance then you and the father are equally responsible.
You focus on the wrong things. The question is not whether the healthcare provider can put this against your credit. They can. Healthcare providers are very quick to turn people over to collection if the insurer denies a claim for any reason. And the BBB is not the place to go. Nor is consumer protection, whoever that is.
You have not handled things correctly. And I will disagree with my esteemed colleague. Before you can sue, you first have to show that there is a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and that you engaged in the proper steps here. Neither of which is clear from your post as you have not disputed this with the correct authorities.
First you get a copy of your credit report. You then send a certified letter return receipt requested to each of the credit bureaus disputing this account. Ask the credit bureaus to investigate. They do not really investigate - all they do is contact the furnisher of the information (the doctor or healthcare provider). If the furnisher verifies the information, the information stays on your credit report. If the information is not verified, it comes off.
If the information is verified, you then send a certified letter return receipt requested to the healthcare provider or collection agency who is reporting. Regardless of whether a bill is coded correctly, health insurers have 1 year to pay any claims. After that it is the patient's responsibility or the parents if your son is under age. Again, I don't see any reason why you should not be liable if your son was covered under your policy, but you can ask the provider about this. However, I would advise the provider that you were never notified that any claim was denied nor contacted about the debt and offer to settle the debt or pay the bill IF they will remove the negative information because its not your fault. You can then fight with your son or his father about getting paid back in whole or in part.
If you really explain how this was not your fault that the bill went delinquent, the health care provider may agree to take it off if you pay the bill. They are not going to take it off if you don't unless you can make a really good case as to why you are not liable for your child's unreimbursed medical expenses. In fact, if you have an agreement with your son's father, what does it say about unreimbursed medical expenses and who is responsible?
If the healthcare provider refuses to remove the information and if you really have a good case that you should not be responsible, then you can go to a lawyer who specializes in FDCPA/FCRA violations.
Under the FCRA, you can recover your attorneys fees plus up to $1000 in damages or your actual damages, whichever is greater. You will have actual damages if you are denied credit because of this debt or you apply for a loan and are approved but only at a higher interest rate because of this debt.
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