Author Topic: Mother sent to collections for hospital bill  (Read 1767 times)

OneDayAHouse

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Mother sent to collections for hospital bill
« on: January 13, 2017, 12:01:30 PM »
Back in early 2013 my mom was taken to the community hospital in her city for a reoccurring pain and numbness in her arm. At the time she was admitted she had health insurance under a program called HWLA, or Healthy Way Los Angeles and was not working due to disability from a previous work injury. She was admitted after they checked with her insurance and everything was in working order, this was expressed more than once to her as she believed everything with her insurance was squared away. Once admitted they recommended she stay the night because they wanted to make sure her heart was ok. She wound up spending ONE night in the hospital and was released the next day. As far as she knew everything was fine and the insurance had taken care of the hospital bill. She wasn't billed or called once to be made aware that there was an outstanding debt from her very short hospital stay.

Fast forward to 2016, my mom gets a call from a collections agency claiming she owes $17,000 in hospital bills. My mom put it off as some sort of mistake only to get 3 collections letters trying to collect on the bill from that one night in the hospital back in 2013. They are claiming the bill was for $13,000 and has now collected $5,000 in interest and she needs to pay it in full immediately. She went back to the hospital and tried to get answers from them, but all they can say is that the program HWLA no longer exists and they have no other information available.

According to the transcripts sent with the collection notices it states that they called HWLA for payment but were unable to receive payment because my mom had a lapse in coverage "recently" and had just "re-applied recently". There is no way for my mom to pay back this amount, especially not in full as the notice states she has too. She just began working again about a year ago if that makes any difference in the situation.

QUESTION: Is there any advice on what her next step should be in this situation? Is she really on the hook for this bill she had no idea was even outstanding until a little over a month ago?

Thanks for any help as we don't know how to proceed in this situation and I know there are a lot of very intelligent minds in these forums, with a wide variety of knowledge.

AZDude

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Re: Mother sent to collections for hospital bill
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2017, 12:16:48 PM »
Send them a certified letter stating you want proof of the validity of the debt. Send them a certified letter stating that you dispute the validity and no longer want to be contacted regarding the debt. At that point they legally must send you proof and must stop contacting your mother with the exception of any actual lawsuit filed.

Also, make that your mother is being truthful. My own parents have had similar situations where they claimed ignorance, only for me to investigate and find out they were billed and simply ignored it. 4 years is a long time to remember something.

Dicey

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Re: Mother sent to collections for hospital bill
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2017, 02:28:59 AM »
^This.^ They must show you proof, well, her, but you know what i mean.

Goldielocks

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Re: Mother sent to collections for hospital bill
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2017, 01:20:43 PM »
^This.^ They must show you proof, well, her, but you know what i mean.

Because collections agencies will try to collect on debt from a related, but not responsible, party.   e.g., they may have a valid claim with HWLA only... and not your mother.