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Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

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Valued Contributor

Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

hello all
 
was wondering if anyone knew anything about using HIPPA laws to arrange a PFD because according to one section I was reading thru FACTA and the HIPPA in association says that accounts that are med. in nature can't be associated w/ your name and address...and it was leading me to believe if you pay them then the CA needs to take them off esp. if they say medical collection
 
please if anyone know anything about this...
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

Ok- was reading more about this on EDITED! and it says DO NOT CONTACT  CA - it says contact OC and deal w/ them on this as HIPPA laws may prohibit them from forwarding your info to a CA...
 
am trying to research this more, as I already paid on through the OC and have two tiny ones left and will definitly be willing to pay OC if it means that I can send a letter saying that because of HIPPA they must update to CA and CRAs to remove account cuz it is med. information...
 
ok- trying to research this...
 
please, please if anyone knows anything about this please post, and DEFINITLY post info if I am writing wrong information re: this...


Message Edited by fused on 07-22-2008 12:52 PM
Message 2 of 20
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

Just for what it's worth (not much, probably): if you're trying to Google this, it's HIPAA--one P, two A's. It stands for Health Information Portability and Accountability Act. It's misspelled so often that you can probably get decent hits off the wrong spelling, but if you want the real stuff, try this spelling.
* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
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Message 3 of 20
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

Hi! Thanks for the question! I never thought of thatSmiley Happy I found these two articles:
 
 
 

UNPAID MEDICAL BILLS AND YOUR PRIVACY-HIPAA AMENDMENTS
Medical collections may become more difficult for collection agencies to collect and useful for debtors in clearing up their credit records.

The Privacy Rule requires a "business associate" (collection agency or billing firm) to reasonably limit the amount of information disclosed for such purposes to the minimum necessary as well as to abide by reasonable requests for confidential communications.

This could be a loophole for debtors against collection agencies because collection employees often know less about their industry restrictions than does the debtor. This could lead to violations and eventually case law to support such violations. If collection agency employees are not careful, they could lose out on collecting medical debts by inadvertently knowing too much about the debtors medical condition. This will no doubt lead to many consumers seeking that the debts be pulled back by the medical provider to avoid potential suits against the provider.

Debtors who know how to protect themselves will use this provision to threaten collectors and gain the upper hand in settling the debt without it hitting their credit reports. Basically, debtors who discover that the collector knows their diagnosis and treatment will threaten the agency that their privacy has been violated. The agency, wanting to avoid unnecessary suits will most likely agree to remove the negative entry on the consumers credit report by agreeing to settle with such terms. The debtor will gain a clearer credit report by having the item removed rather than listed as "paid collection".

 

Your Health Information and Your Credit Report

Can my information be disclosed to a collection agency?

Yes. When you put on that faded cotton gown and sit on the examining table, you are the patient. But, your role could change to many other things, including that of debtor. You visit your doctor and pay for health insurance premiums so that you are assured of care in an emergency or in case of an illness. But, your relationship is also a business arrangement.

You are obligated to pay for any costs not covered by your health insurance. Remember : Your consent is not required to disclose information from your medical files if it is made in connection with payment.

An unpaid bill, like any other debt claimed to be owed, may be reported to a collection agency. What's more, an unpaid medical bill can appear as a negative entry on your credit report. Information that can be disclosed to a collection agency about you includes:

  • Your name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Payment history
  • Account number
  • Name and address of the health care provider or health plan that says you owe the money.

A recent study by the Federal Reserve found that over half of all collections noted on credit reports were for unpaid medical bills, 

Can I dispute a medical bill?

Unfortunately, the federal law that enables consumers to dispute billing errors does not apply to medical bills. The Fair Credit Billing Act only applies to credit cards accounts and revolving charge accounts. But that does not mean that you cannot dispute billing errors.

The medical billing and insurance claims processes can be complicated and confusing. Be sure to stay on top of your medical bills and dispute matters in writing with both the health provider and insurance company when you think errors have been made. Try to get the matter resolved before the debt is reported to a collection agency and/or to the credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion).

If a medical debt is reported to a collection agency, you have rights given by credit and collection laws. Federal laws are the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. State laws might also apply.

 
 
Message 4 of 20
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

Ok. I am a medical biller and have been doing medical billing for over ten years. When a medical bill is sent to a legitimate collection agency, they only know the name of the doctor or facility that is sending the balance, and how much you owe. So collection agencies do not have any information that is protected under HIPPA law. Additionally, HIPPA protects you as a patient, so if you are calling about your own bill, there is no violation of HIPPA because it's your medical information. It gets tricky if the bill is for your minor child if that child has sought treatment on their own (like a teenager wanting birth control) or if the bill is for your spouse. Without their consent, you cannot get any information other than what doctor was seen and the amount owed for a child, and even if you are the insurance policy holder, there is a good chance you will not get any info on a spouse without their verbal or written consent. With that being said, ALL doctors will negotiate balances and will absolutely do a PFD. Bottom line is they want to get paid, and a little money is better than none. They understand that you have no control over being sick, and they don't want your credit affected, they just want to be paid for their services. I have rarely seen a doctor deny a courtesy balance adjustment. Try to work with the Doctor's office first before the collection agencies when at all possible. The collection agencies are paid to collect money, they do not care about your health problems or if your insurance paid the claims correctly. They do not negotiate on the balance because it comes directly out of their paycheck. Sometimes once an account is sent to collections you can no longer work with the Doctor's office, but TRY!!!!
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

I have 2 medical bills that went to collections in 2006 can I still try to settle with the OC? and can they have it removed from CRA? Thanks -ANS
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

It is absolutely worth the try. Did you have insurance at the time, or were you what we call "self pay"? If you had insurance, are you sure that your claims were processed correctly? I have talked to hundreds of patients over the years who have had their credit affected by something that never should have happened in the first place. Health insurance companies will do everything they can to delay and deny a claim. But as a policyholder you have many rights that not a lot of people know about. Almost any denial can be appealed and overturned. So first thing to do is call your insurance company and verify that the amount you are being billed for is the same amount they show that you owe. If you do not have any insurance, this is sometimes even better for you. Write a letter to the doctor explaining what your financial situation is and why you didn't pay your bills, and ask for a courtesy discount. Sending a good faith payment with your letter will almost guarantee a reduction in payment as we get many letters from patients that expect free medical care. So, unless you went to a free clinic (which you didn't or else you wouldn't be getting a bill) do not expect the doctor to write off the entire balance. Your doctor will not erase your bill, but most likely will give you a courtesy discount if you are willing to pay something.
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Message 8 of 20
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Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?



Noah_Bodie wrote:
If you've been reading the whychat letter, skip it. Been debated on CB and CIC, general consensus seems to be it has no standing at all.
 
 


Ok thanks. Was just wondering if there was any way to gain leverage. BTW- the final two small collections I owe are for serv. where ins. wouldn't pay, and silly me didn't even think to appeal to ins. co- at the time I was very stubbor (again dumb me) and on principle said I wouldn't pay it- again DUMB ME!!!
 
 
Even dumber me- I filed ins. and acted as the go between for HMO's and the Dr. I used to work for and should have thought about appealing- I just didn't think of it in those terms- I was constantly calling the HMO's to have vists re certifed and orders verfied and approved...
 
Hindsight is 20/20- but I will never not pay again!!!


Message Edited by netpanther on 09-27-2007 09:27 AM
Message 9 of 20
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Valued Contributor

Re: Does anyone know anything about using HIPPA laws to secure a PFD?

I DVd a CA for a medical bill - will the provider now give them my entire medical record or only the billing portion?
 
Should I end run the CA and go to the OC with a PFD if they actually do validate (I'm thinking they won't for $169 - might cost the OC too much to gather the paperwork.
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