Author Topic: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?  (Read 3184 times)

jeromedawg

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Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« on: March 09, 2016, 02:09:24 PM »
Hey guys,

I received an invoice from my doctor's office stating that I owe $100 for a Typhoid vaccine I received back in August of 2014 (prior to going to Asia). I had also gotten Hep B shots in addition. I seem to recall discussing with the office what was covered, and I thought all vaccines were at least partially covered (if not fully covered.. or that the office would bill them as preventatives), but don't remember 100%.

First, is it 'normal' to get invoices like this from over a year ago from your doctor? And if so, why do they wait so long to send them out?!
Second, should I appeal this (and if so, are my chances of coming away without having to pay good)? I've since switched insurance providers and I don't know if I have all the details of the plan I was on - I know for sure it was one of the Anthem BCBS CA HMO plans (possibly the Select plan) at my previous employer. If I did appeal, I'm not sure who I should even contact since I'm not even currently on the same plan that I was over a year ago...

It's pretty irritating that they're invoicing me almost two years later either way. Arghhh
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 02:22:30 PM by jplee3 »

sallylee

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2016, 05:46:01 PM »
I think you should appeal. 2 years is too long. Call them and ask them why it took 2 years

fa

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2016, 06:05:46 PM »
Were they able to get ahold of you when you moved to Asia?  If they made reasonable attempts to contact you over the last few years and were unable to do so, I think you owe the money.  If they just ignored the account for 2 years, I would tell them that you will not pay.  Too much time has passed and the account is essentially not collectable.

You may ask them why it took 2 years and what attempts they made to contact you prior to today.  Ask for details:  letters, phone calls, emails and dates.

Unless they genuinely tried to contact you, I think it is unlikely that a judge would make you pay such an old debt.

zinethstache

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2016, 06:16:12 PM »
I recently received a one year old bill. It had some odd wording. I called them up and they discovered it was something to do with switching to a new system and they told me not to pay it. So, if you haven't already, definitely call and see what's up. Prior to calling I did alot of my own research and had the two payments I'd paid from back a year ago at the ready. Now I wish I'd just called them before doing a bunch of work. Good Luck!

jeromedawg

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2016, 06:58:39 PM »
Were they able to get ahold of you when you moved to Asia?  If they made reasonable attempts to contact you over the last few years and were unable to do so, I think you owe the money.  If they just ignored the account for 2 years, I would tell them that you will not pay.  Too much time has passed and the account is essentially not collectable.

You may ask them why it took 2 years and what attempts they made to contact you prior to today.  Ask for details:  letters, phone calls, emails and dates.

Unless they genuinely tried to contact you, I think it is unlikely that a judge would make you pay such an old debt.

Thanks all. Oh the Asia trip was just for a few weeks of vacation. Nothing long-term. I figured I'd get the vaccine just to be safe (not sure what kind of water or drinks we'd be drinking esp in Taiwan with the street food - my wife got sick from drinking some soy milk...nothing serious but still). I never heard anything from the dr's office about this until now - no previous letters, phonecalls/vms or emails referring to me owing anything for this vaccine. The weird thing is that the billing account in their files is under my wife's name when I'm the patient (she's not and has never been there)...this is strange because when I submitted the paperwork everything should have been under my name (unless I accidentally grabbed my wife's specific ID card when I went in). The thing about all this too is that I'm still a patient with this doctor and at this office, so I would think they'd keep hounding me about it esp as long as I'm still a patient. Perhaps this is a sign to switch doctors depending on their response (e.g. if they are insistent on me paying)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2016, 07:07:13 PM by jplee3 »

Polaria

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2016, 06:14:48 AM »
Maybe it is a scam?

Dee18

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2016, 06:55:54 AM »
Under my policy Typhoid is not covered when it is for travel.  If you received the shot and your insurance did not cover it, then you owe the money.  It's frustrating to be surprised by an old bill, but if you bought the item or service, why not pay it?

Gin1984

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2016, 06:59:12 AM »
Under my policy Typhoid is not covered when it is for travel.  If you received the shot and your insurance did not cover it, then you owe the money.  It's frustrating to be surprised by an old bill, but if you bought the item or service, why not pay it?
Many insurance companies have in their contracts that they will only pay if billed within a year.  I think I deserve the same consideration as the insurance company.

Taran Wanderer

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2016, 07:32:52 AM »
Two years later is too late, unless you're one of our local excavating contractors. Then, it's completely normal. You should call and question the charge. Worst case is that you are convinced it is valid and you pay it. In that case you just got a free $100 loan for two years. Most likely they'll just forgive the bill.

jeromedawg

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2016, 09:25:25 AM »
Also, I just checked my email records/threads with the doctor directly and apparently my provider (Anthem/Monarch at the time) told me that as long as the doctor bills the vaccinations as "preventative" or "routine" they would be covered. I explicitly stated this in my email to him and I vaguely recall having the same conversation with the office staff. So why it took them so long to get back to me about all this, I don't know. I'm going to call them out on all this... seems a bit shady of them.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2016, 09:31:36 AM by jplee3 »

Sibley

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2016, 01:07:44 PM »
So, this sort of thing happens. Not actually shady, just a result of a complicated system that doesn't actually work all that well sometimes.

jeromedawg

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Re: Medical office billing me for a vaccine I received in 2014?
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2016, 01:53:27 PM »
So, this sort of thing happens. Not actually shady, just a result of a complicated system that doesn't actually work all that well sometimes.

I can see that... on top of that, this doctor's staff has been historically bad at correspondence and communication. One time it took several weeks + multiple emails and phone calls just to get them to send a simple lab report to me. So I can see how that slow of communication + a potentially complicated system could be the culprit.