Apr 16, 2011 06:00PM Emaline wrote:
Here is what I can offer and I haven't even received a bill for anything, yet. First of all I work in medical billing. I am the big meanie who calls you when I don't receive your payment for the month. What I recommend: Call or write but I think writing is better as you have a copy of exactly what you said and if you can afford it, send it certified so that they have to sign that they have received your letter. This is important because ABC company cannot say that they never received your letter. Offer to make payments each month, make it something reasonable. If you can't afford $500/month do not offer. Most places are going to look at your age and see what is reasonable. For where I work, they want everything paid off in 10 months or less, but figure 4 years or less is reasonable (I work in a nursing home). If you can't make a payment, keep in contact with them and let them know what is going.
Unfortunately many many places are now going to reduced fee, if you qualify or 3 or 5 monthly payment. For my friend whose husband had a heart attack, when all was said and done, his bill was over $125,000, he was offered the opportunity to make 3 payments. I will wait for your laughter to subside. (This was not the company I work for btw, but a major hospital in my area). Your option at that point are try to see if you qualify for a settlement or reduction in bill or let them take your to collections.
As someone in billing I can tell you there are two phases to collections, well three. 1st is the phone call or kind of nice letter from where the procedure is done from. Then a not so nice call or letter and maybe another one. At that point, most companies will turn you over to collections. This is stage 2. They will start by sending you threatening letters and maybe calling you at work. If you have not offered to make monthly payments, this is an excellent time to do it. And offer to the hospital not the collections people. Hopefully they will take you up on it.
Why? No company wants to go to stage 3, which is when the collections agencies really step it up: Threatening with lawsuits, garnishment of wages, etc. This is where the collection agencies make their money. At this point, most people will offer to make payments and this is where collection agencies make their money. Most collection agencies will do stage 2 for FREE but if it goes to stage 3, they will take 1/2 of all payments. So if you offer to make $100 to XYZ hospital for the next 5 years, collection agency gets $50/month of that.
No hospital/doctor/etc wants to give the collection agency money, so if you can avoid it, make the settlement offer. If your hospital/doctor/etc wants to play hardball, then make then payment plan to the collection company and they will be more then happy to take you up on it. Why? They get half the money.