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Registered: ‎05-17-2011
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Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

I really need some assistance with understanding this one.

 

Today I received a notice on my credit report from a collection agency.  As I began to do the research I discovered that there are two accounts from a medical group located in California.  I called the medical group and discovered that one account was for my ex-wife and the other account was for my daughter who lives with my ex-wife.  Both accounts were opened in June 2008.

 

Now here is where it gets complicated.  My wife and I were living together in May 2008 in the sate of Virginia were we had a residence.  We legally separated in June of 2008.  Upon moving out, my ex-wife and kids moved to the state of California.  When she arrived out here she went to the doctors office and used my insurance for her office visit.  I was still living in Virginia and was unaware of her medical visit, and at no time was I asked to validate or approve the office visit.

 

So now it's been 3 years and a collections notice shows up on my credit report.  I was never notified or contacted about this debt or given a chance to investigate it.  When I called the collections agency they stated that this was in my ex-wife's name and my daughter's name (who is a minor).

 

How is it possible that this ends up on my credit report when it was clearly in her name, I was never notified about the debt and had no record of it for 3 years?

 

What can I do to have this negative credit removed?  How should I approach this or is there something specific I should say within a DV letter?

 

Thanks!

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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's


twister wrote:

I really need some assistance with understanding this one.

 

Today I received a notice on my credit report from a collection agency.  As I began to do the research I discovered that there are two accounts from a medical group located in California.  I called the medical group and discovered that one account was for my ex-wife and the other account was for my daughter who lives with my ex-wife.  Both accounts were opened in June 2008.

 

Now here is where it gets complicated.  My wife and I were living together in May 2008 in the sate of Virginia were we had a residence.  We legally separated in June of 2008.  Upon moving out, my ex-wife and kids moved to the state of California.  When she arrived out here she went to the doctors office and used my insurance for her office visit.  I was still living in Virginia and was unaware of her medical visit, and at no time was I asked to validate or approve the office visit.

 

So now it's been 3 years and a collections notice shows up on my credit report.  I was never notified or contacted about this debt or given a chance to investigate it.  When I called the collections agency they stated that this was in my ex-wife's name and my daughter's name (who is a minor).

 

How is it possible that this ends up on my credit report when it was clearly in her name, I was never notified about the debt and had no record of it for 3 years?

 

What can I do to have this negative credit removed?  How should I approach this or is there something specific I should say within a DV letter?

 

Thanks!


If the medical care was received subsequent to legal separation, normally you would not be liable for your wife's treatment absent a court order.  This would, though vary from state to state.  However, you would still be liable for your dependant child absent a court order. 

 

I am not sure how you would be able to handle the collection over your wife's medical care.  Perhaps you could challenge it as fraudulent.  As for your daughter's, you might see if the creditor would accept payment and then delete the tradeline.

 

 

IAALBNYL
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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

I originally started this discussion in a different thread and it was suggested I bring it here for the specific details. 

 

I don't understand how these wouldn't be two separate conversations; 1) the validaty of how much is owed and 2) the appearance of the CA on my credit report.

 

As you mentioned, and as I've been told, because they are my dependents and used my insurance I "may" be liable for the cost of the health care, and that because they used my insurance this is why it ended up on my credit report.

 

Paying the fees is one question, but why am I being penalized on my credit when I was unaware of the transaction, didn't authorize the transaction, didn't sign anything and was never notified about the transaction?

 

Further more, this was a medical bill that was covered under my insurance and validated that my insurance did in fact pay for the visit.

 

I don't know what these fees are for and within the realm of my responsibility for covering the dependents with insurance they were.  I've also been told that just because it was my insurance that was used does NOT mean I'm liable for the mark on my credit report.

 

I've started by disputing the claims with the bureaus and sending a DV letter to the CA.  I guess we'll see what happens from here.

Senior Contributor
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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's


twister wrote:

I originally started this discussion in a different thread and it was suggested I bring it here for the specific details. 

 

I don't understand how these wouldn't be two separate conversations; 1) the validaty of how much is owed and 2) the appearance of the CA on my credit report.

 

As you mentioned, and as I've been told, because they are my dependents and used my insurance I "may" be liable for the cost of the health care, and that because they used my insurance this is why it ended up on my credit report.

 

Paying the fees is one question, but why am I being penalized on my credit when I was unaware of the transaction, didn't authorize the transaction, didn't sign anything and was never notified about the transaction?

 

Further more, this was a medical bill that was covered under my insurance and validated that my insurance did in fact pay for the visit.

 

I don't know what these fees are for and within the realm of my responsibility for covering the dependents with insurance they were.  I've also been told that just because it was my insurance that was used does NOT mean I'm liable for the mark on my credit report.

 

I've started by disputing the claims with the bureaus and sending a DV letter to the CA.  I guess we'll see what happens from here.


 

Whether or not they used or attempted to use your insurance is generally irrelevant.  A creditor can go after the parents for a child's medical care absent a court order.  In many states -- and not only those that are community property states -- a spouse is liable for medical expenses of the other spouse.  Since you state that you were legally separated, there is doubt that you would be liable for your wife's medical expenses, but the issue can be complex and depands on many variables not the least of which is how you define legal separation. 

 

The validity of how much is owed is an issue between you and the OC / CA.  Just because you disagree with the amount does not mean the tradeline has to reflect your version, much less be removed from your credit report.  You can certainly DV the CA, but unless you do so within 30 days of initial contact the CA can ignore it.  If you have never been directly notified by the CA, you can make a timely DV within 30 days or your discovery of their tradeline on your credit report.  

 

The standards for a proper DV response by the CA are minimal.  They simply have to regurgitate the identity of the original creditor,   the original amount due with a breakdown of additional fees / charges and, if applicable, a copy of the judgment.  With the exception of a copy of the judgment, everything else can be furnished in a letter on the CA's own letterhead.  Now, if your insurance company paid the medical charges in full, then you can show evidence of this to the CA and likely get the tradeline removed as erroneous.  Or you can convince the OC that they made a mistake and have them recall the debt from the CA while removing their tradeline.  However, if you cannot enlist the aid of the OC or the CA does not agree with you, then you are pretty much stuck.

 

Unfortunately, in most states, whether or not you authorized or were aware or even notified of the debt is irrelevant.  Although I can understand your position, a medical care provider has absolutely no duty to ensure that both parents are notified before medical care is provided much less seek their authorization.  It is sufficient that one parent or guardian is aware and there are times when even that is not required.  Yes, they should have sent you a bill or other notice, but that is not a legal requirement.  The fact is that one parent was aware and chose not to communicate this to the other.  As usually happens in domestic issues -- and quite unfortunate at that -- your beef is with your spouse and not the medical care provider. 

 

I don't think the reason it did appear on your credit report is because they used your insurance, but not in the way you might think.  Whether or not they used your insurance, you were likely still liable at least for the medical care of the child and it could have still eventually found its way onto your credit reports.  I think that by using your insurance it may have made it easier for the creditors to discover who you were and to go after you. 

 

Hopefully the CRAs will remove the tradeline, but they do not have to.  If you can get the OC to agree that the entire balance had been payed, then that should be enough to get the CA to disappear.

 

I would be concerned about this happening again in the future.  Although it is virtually impossible to prevent 100%, there are steps you can take through Family Court to lessen the possibility. 

IAALBNYL
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Registered: ‎05-17-2011
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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

Your summarization is helpful yet extremely discouraging and sad.  To me their actions are criminal and how they are able to get away with this even with it being a medical collections is absurd.  I will fight this, even if I lose.

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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's


twister wrote:

Your summarization is helpful yet extremely discouraging and sad.  To me their actions are criminal and how they are able to get away with this even with it being a medical collections is absurd.  I will fight this, even if I lose.


Unfortunately, when it comes to matrimonial issues pretty much everything sucks.  It's been that way for a long, long time and as much as I am an optimistic individual, I seriously doubt it will get better.

 

I would also like to see it at least 1/2 a criminal issue, but since we are dealing with a matrimonial issue then, sadly, the law sees things through different eyes.  Even so, in a perfect world you'd only see what happend as 1/2 criminal.  You do have the obligation to meet your child's medical expenses and absent a court order, even the Second Coming will not change that.  Even if -- and it is a really big if -- you can get a court order stating that you are not responsible for your child's medical expenses, it is highly unlikely any law enforcement agency in this country would get involved as they'd see it as simply another domestic issue. 

 

Of course you should try your luck with the CA and the CRAs.  However, do not neglect to take steps to prevent this same thing from happening again.  Unless you are legally separated, in many states -- even aside from those that are community property -- you can be held responsibly for your wife's medical expenses.  Ensuring you meet your state's legal definition of legally separated can prevent 1/2 the problem from recurring.  Failing to do so, there is potential for issues so serious that it could put you in shock.

 

As for the child's medical expenses, unless Family Court determines otherwise, you will remain on the hook whether you like it or not.  Even if Family Court assigns all child medical expenses to your wife, your only recourse to enforce that is through Family Court when she violates the court order.  It will, however, prevent any creditor from coming after you to recover medical expenses. 

 

A more likely scenario, though, is that Family Court will order you to maintain medical insurance to cover your child's medical expenses.  That puts you back on the hook should your wife take the child into, for example, the ER and you only find out when yet another collection appears on your credit report.  You could have the Family Court order tailored so that your wife is obligated to get preapproval or at least notify you within a certain period of time, but that will not help you with Cas should she fail to do so.  Your only recourse would be to go back into Family Court on an Order to Show Cause to have the judge chew her out.  Family Court judges are extremely reluctant to sanction custodial parents. Still, the thought that, perhaps, the court may sanction her might encourage her to use her brain.

 

And that's about as good as it gets.

 

 

 

 

IAALBNYL
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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

Once again, I see two separate issues here.

 

1) Requirment to pay medical expenses.  Yes, I get this.  As the child's father I have an obligation to pay their expenses or more so our divorce agreement states that both parents are liable for 50/50% of the expenses.  My ex-wife should be obligated to pay for her own expenses whatever those may be.  Insurance coverage is not mandatory, but if I had it, then the children would be covered and I would be responsible for 50% of whatever that is.  I accept this and I am completing willing to pay for medical, dental or vision expenses.  They are my children and I want to provide for them.

 

2) Attacking my credit without any knowledge.  This is the criminal part.  How is it even legally possible for a CA to attack my personal credit, to put negative items on my credit report and shot my credit score down by 100 points for something I had no knowledge of and was never notified about?  I don't care WHAT the reason, this is wrong and must be stopped.  Even if I was still required to pay something, or it was actually my responsibility to pay for something, I was never given the opportunity to pay for it, to resolve the issues and prevent it from appearing on my record.  THIS is the issue I am concerned with.

 

Whether I am liable for a portion of or all of the expenses, I will still argue it should not have appeared on my records.  I will still fight this and take them to small claims if it is not removed from my report.  Will it ever get paid... don't know, but I'll wait for a court to tell me it's going to stay on my credit report.

 

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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

I am the person that suggested you make a new post here about the charges made by your ex and child.

 

Your post in General started with a question about a collection that was unknown. Your next post showed that it was related to your ex and that is why I thought you would get more help in Relationships and Money. I don't think you can get anywhere with the collection problem until you find out if it is "your" debt. I could have given you some info if you were in California but when you said that there was more than one state involved I knew that your problem was beyond my knowledge.

 

I understand that you are upset that a charge made by your ex and your minor child could end up appearing on your credit as a collection. Any responsible person would be deeply offended by this. Our legal system makes this possible. The more responsible spouse having this kind of a problem after a divorce with minor children might rate a "1" on a scale of 1-10. If those medical bills were equal to one years income it would start to be significant. This isn't because it is fair, it is because the system is horrible.

 

Try following the Family Court Order and allowing your ex to have your minor child for visitation. Then have her take the child somewhere else without your knowledge or permission. Then have her and some of her relatives do some stupid things. Then stand there and have a judge threaten to not give you your child back and have you arrested because he "doesn't care what the Family Court Judge ordered". It seems obvious that I only got my child back because I hadn't even had a traffic ticket for 20 years. Legal fees alone exceeded one years income. From my experience that event would rate a 5 on that 1-10 scale. I've seen far worse.

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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

[ Edited ]

Yes. When I first posted I honestly had no clue what the situation was.  It wasn't until I began to investigate that I discovered the other bits and pieces.  I've basically been revealing my info with the community as I've discovered it myself.  What has started off as a simple debt question has turned into chaos.

 

I know for a fact my ex went to a doctor and on a second visit took my daughter to the doctor.  But what I'm hearing is even though I was unaware of the office visit, even though she scheduled the appointment, used her address and contact information, it's in her name and she signed the doctors agreements, I am still responsible.

 

What I don't know is what is the debt for?  I know insurance paid for the office visit, but what is the remaining balance.  The sad thing is this is only for a total of $100.  I could pay it today, but I still have no idea what it is or what it was for or why it wasn't paid in the first place.

 

Regarding the different states, I'm not sure if it will matter or not.  I was living and employed in the state of Virginia when we separated.  She moved to the state of California where the doctor is located and the CA is located.  Technically (and legally) she was still a resident of Virginia at the time she went to see the California doctor.  Although from everything I'm hearing, I don't think this can help my case at all unless the laws in VA vs CA or extremely different. 

 

 

As for the other issues dealing with divorce; yes, i feel your pain.  Trust me, this is not the first negative encounter I have had to deal with.  My ex has tried to take the kids away from me permanently, and now I have a case of PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrom) with my kids that I'm trying to legally manage.  My ex destroyed my credit during my marriage and I'm extremely upset, that even after everything I have done to protect my credit after the marriage, she has still found a way to mess it up. 

 

In the big picture scheme of things is this a major issue.  No.  But it's another example out our legal system is majorly ****** up.

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Re: Collection Agency for medical debt that is my Ex's

[ Edited ]

Although there's not a thing in the world that I can tell you that will change your situation, here are some ideas, just in case they might help a bit:

 

-- Medical collection agencies generally --generally --are more willing to work with you than others, and unfortunately your situation is pretty common. They should be willing to do a PFD (pay for delete) in order to get the collections off. Be very clear that this is what you want though, and make sure that they will hold up their end.

 

-- You can also try contacting the hospital and physician directly, telling them the situation and asking them to pull the collection back, so that you can pay them directly. Once that happens, the CA will have to stop reporting the collection, since they no longer have it. This is win-win, because the provider will get the full amount instead of whatever amount the CA gave them.

 

-- If your ex takes your child to the same physician and hospital, you might try contacting their business offices and providing your contact info (address, etc.), requesting that they send any billing info to you directly. Again, this situation has occurred before, and they ought to understand the issues involved. No one should find out about a medical bill via a collection popping up on their credit reports.

 

I hope that one day your ex will display a little maturity, if only for the sake of your child who is exposed to all this. I can't imagine behaving this way. I pay my half of our youngest daughter's share of the health insurance premium every month, and when she had a big bill that was uncovered, I paid my share, because that's what semi-normal people do. In fact, I had to help DXH with his passwords on one of his credit cards a couple of days ago, lol, nearly a year and a half after the divorce was final. I'll probably be having to help him with his security questions for another 20 years...

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