10-29-2013 06:29 AM
Hi! I'm a newbie to the forums. I got a call yesterday morning from a CA about an old medical bill from 2008 that I had no knowledge about. Apparently I paid the $20 copay, it was filed through insurance and only a portion of it was covered leaving me with $130. They sent it to a very old address, and it was returned.
The collections agency told me it had been reported to my credit back in 2009, but there has been nothing indicating that this was actually reported. I've since refinanced my house, bought a car, etc. with no issues on my credit report. I did a little bit of research and confirmed that the appointment did take place. I plan to call the insurance company today to confirm that the claim was actually filed and see why they only covered part of it. I have no idea if they will have records that old, but it's worth a shot.
I ended up paying the $130 to the CA yesterday, but have been worrying about it being reported to my credit ever since.
Also, would it be useful to contact the medical provider about reporting to the credit agency? It's an individual, self-employed therapist - not a big corporation. I'm not sure if he sold the debt to the CA or if he is just using him for collections. Does he have any power?
My biggest concern is that it is going to be reported to the CA. After doing more research, I read that paying the CA is a big no no, but it's already been done so I'm looking for advice after the fact. I've read a lot about the Hippa process and am wondering if I can use that? What's the process if the debt was NOT reported back in 2009 like she mentioned? Can they still report something if it's already been paid?
What else can I do to ensure that this is NOT reported to my credit? I'm still upset that I received no phone calls, emails, etc. from the original provider.
10-29-2013 09:22 AM
If I had that, I would wait. I would wait to see what would happen. I sure would hate to shake the tree and have it report because I took action.
They may or may not report. If they don't, then no worries. If they do, then you can always send goodwill letters asking if they wouldn't mind deleting. You can also see if you can put some pressure on the doctor and sometimes they can compel the CA to delete. HIPAA wouldn't work since the debt was paid with the CA and you had communicated with them about the debt. The practice behind HIPAA is that medical privacy is imperative and therefore the CA had no right to your info.
Chances are that if they didn't report since 2009, then they won't report now. Certainly pull all 3 reports regularly to make sure that's the case.
10-29-2013 10:56 AM
Thanks for the input! I wasn't very pleasant with CA so I hope that doesn't skew my case.
I wasn't sure how the whole reporting thing worked - if they could report both a debt and the fact that it was paid all at one time. And if it showing up on my report now would mean that it will take seven years from the date it was reported for it to get off of my credit.
I am checking with my old insurance company to make sure that it was actually filed through insurance and have also reached out to the doctor to see if he will respond.
10-29-2013 11:01 AM
If the CA feels the debt it legit, they can still report it as paid. But I doubt they would proceed since they've had the debt since 2009. But definitely pull all 3 reports.
IMO, I wouldn't take any further action with docs/insurance until you know whether or not they are reporting. It would be a large waste of time if they aren't reporting and you then run the risk of the CA reporting after being contacted by docs or whomever.
The 7 to 7.5 years (as set by law (FCRA)) starts at the date of service. So if this is from 2008, then the longest they can report if they decide to now would be until 2015 sometime.
10-29-2013 11:29 AM
When a debt collector reports their collection, they are technically reporting that they had/have authorized authority to collect on a debt, not necessarily that they own the debt.
If they also own the debt, their reporting of a balance also happens to reflect the amount of debt owed to them.
Payment of the debt does not negate the fact that they had legitimate collection authority. They could choose to report after termination of their authority, provided their reporting also states that the collection is closed, and there is now a $0 balance under their collection.
However, as a practical matter, I would guess they are unlikely to do so.
Debt collectors use credit reporting as a tool to exert collection presssure. With the debt paid, reporting would no longer serve a business purpose.
Once having reported, they subject themselves to the possibility of consumer disputes over the accuracy of their reporting,
Additionally, if they report, they are required to obtain and report the DOFD on the OC account within 90 days, which could lead to continued dispute over that date.
A prudent business decision may lead them to just let it go, and not report.