Unpaid Ambulance Bill - account sent to collection, now affecting my credit score
My credit is okay : recent FICO 740 but I have a medical account in collection that I am disputing.
I just received notice that two different credit card accounts have had credit lines decreased in the last month and I'm afraid this collection action is negatively affecting my credit. I've posted a version of this in the general question section.
my collection account is a small amount ($1k) but I have refused to pay for the following reasons:
I was in an accident and taken by ambulance to a hospital 50 miles away. The ambulance company never billed my insurance, which would have paid if they had billed within 2 years. After making no attempt to bill my insurance the ambulance company sent me to collection. To this day, three years after the accident I have not received a single bill from the ambulance company, I only discovered this charge when I obtained my credit
I have not contacted the CA and have not requested a debt validation from them.
The collection agency has not contacted me AFAIK. I own a business and my staff fends off several dozen unsolicited salesmen/scam artist calls a day, some of which could be this agency attempting to contact me. I have not received anything in writing from them. I dont answer unknown calls at home or on my cell phone
When I found out about the collection action in September 2008, I contacted the ambulance company, part of a rural town's fire department, I was told that bills had been sent to the site of the accident! (a rural gas station at an interstate interchange) This despite the fact that they had my insurance information. I was unconscious at the time the abmbulance came, but I was told that the paramedics looked in my wallet for my insurance card. Twenty other medical entities managed to send me bills to my home address for costs associated with accident
The ambulance company said they had nothing to do with the charge anymore and I should contact the collection agency directly. I did not contact the but did dispute the collection with Equifax, which was the only Credit report showing it at the time.
After a month I got a form letter from Equifax saying it was a valid charge and that the dispute was closed. That was in October 2008. Unfortunately I got busy with other things and ignored the problem until now.
What are the best steps to take to remove this collection action from my credit report? I am willing to pay it if that will improve my credit. I will be refinancing my home mortgage within the next few years and I want to have "perfect" credit at that time.