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View Full Version : Help - I've got a debt collector on me for insurance benefits!


KC Jones
11-27-2004, 04:34 PM
Here's the story:

I changed jobs and consequently health insurance. Today we get a letter in the mail from a debt collection agency wanting to come after us for some $230. Turns out my silly wife used the old card to fill some prescriptions back in June. My old company forgot to cancel my health insurance (and 401k and tons of other stuff but that's another story).

I never heard of anything like this before and the old insurance company didn't even try to contact us about it - they went straight to the collection agency. So am I on the line here? I think my new insurance would've covered it but now it may be too late - I'll have to check into it. I just can't help feeling like it's my old companies fault. They've made everything a real pain in the ass - I had to wait right up until the deadline to roll my 401k because they had me as a current employee.

Anyone have any good ideas how to handle this?

I'm guessing I don't have too many options other than talking to my new insurance company and paying the old one.

Bob Dole
11-27-2004, 04:43 PM
If your old company was still paying your premiums, how the hell can it be considered any sort of debt?

What a ****ing mess. Now you get to worry about crap that isn't even a debt showing up as a negative on your credit report.

Phobia
11-27-2004, 04:44 PM
I would put your old insurance company in touch with whomever covered you at the time of the accidental charges. If they want their money, they'll resolve it with them. If they don't, they'll blow it off. But, you'll probably always have a collection agency on your ass. They want 50% of that $230.

Mosbonian
11-27-2004, 04:52 PM
KC:

Depeding upon which state you live in, you might have a small out. Some states require that the company is required to show that they made some attemtp to collect the debt before turning you over to collection.

Ask your collection agency to provide copies of any documentation showing where their client made any attempt to contact you to allow you to cure the debt. If they will not, you might want to find out if your state requires prior notice (normally called a 10 Day Demand letter) to you before forwarding to an outside agency.

Do a little homework and you might get lucky and find out that they have erred in how they handled this.

mmaddog
*******

memyselfI
11-27-2004, 04:54 PM
Here's the story:

I changed jobs and consequently health insurance. Today we get a letter in the mail from a debt collection agency wanting to come after us for some $230. Turns out my silly wife used the old card to fill some prescriptions back in June. My old company forgot to cancel my health insurance (and 401k and tons of other stuff but that's another story).

I never heard of anything like this before and the old insurance company didn't even try to contact us about it - they went straight to the collection agency. So am I on the line here? I think my new insurance would've covered it but now it may be too late - I'll have to check into it. I just can't help feeling like it's my old companies fault. They've made everything a real pain in the ass - I had to wait right up until the deadline to roll my 401k because they had me as a current employee.

Anyone have any good ideas how to handle this?


I'm guessing I don't have too many options other than talking to my new insurance company and paying the old one.


Based on previous HR experience I've had I suggest this:

You send a cease and desist letter to the creditor. You are not obliged by law to deal with them but you need to inform them that you refuse to do so and they MUST stop harrassing you. Here is a good link regarding C&D. For a good form letter you can use try:

http://www.ihatedebt.com/Cease_and_Desist_Letter_for_Debt_Collectors.html

Then get in touch with the HR department of your old company. Receive from them a letter stating their cancel date of your old policy. Do not let them supply you with the last day of your employment if you have proof or some knowledge that they kept you on the insurance post that day. After you receive that send it to the new insurance company AND all medical entities making claims against you.

Basically your old employer is on the hook for this and what you are proving is that you 1. had the coverage and 2. are notifying those involved of where the responsibility to pay lies. If your name was on the insured list and premiums were paid then you had coverage whether you or the employer were aware of this or not.

It sounds like you were given a few months of free COBRA (that is how your old company will process this internally) and you are NOT responsible for the bill.

Good luck.

KC Jones
11-27-2004, 05:22 PM
Based on previous HR experience I've had I suggest this:

You send a cease and desist letter to the creditor. You are not obliged by law to deal with them but you need to inform them that you refuse to do so and they MUST stop harrassing you. Here is a good link regarding C&D. For a good form letter you can use try:

http://www.ihatedebt.com/Cease_and_Desist_Letter_for_Debt_Collectors.html

Then get in touch with the HR department of your old company. Receive from them a letter stating their cancel date of your old policy. Do not let them supply you with the last day of your employment if you have proof or some knowledge that they kept you on the insurance post that day. After you receive that send it to the new insurance company AND all medical entities making claims against you.

Basically your old employer is on the hook for this and what you are proving is that you 1. had the coverage and 2. are notifying those involved of where the responsibility to pay lies. If your name was on the insured list and premiums were paid then you had coverage whether you or the employer were aware of this or not.

It sounds like you were given a few months of free COBRA (that is how your old company will process this internally) and you are NOT responsible for the bill.

Good luck.

Thanks! :thumb:

Brando
11-27-2004, 05:24 PM
You don't even have to waste your time writing the C&D letter. You can call them if it is within the first 30 days of receiving the letter and tell them that you are disputing the charges. They then be Federal Law have to give you 30 days to work out the dispute.

memyselfI
11-27-2004, 05:26 PM
You don't even have to waste your time writing the C&D letter. You can call them if it is within the first 30 days of receiving the letter and tell them that you are disputing the charges. They then be Federal Law have to give you 30 days to work out the dispute.

The letter is good to have for 1. proof of request and 2.your records incase this shows up on your credit report later on. Forgot to mention, send the letter certified return receipt.