Health Consumer Action Center victories
Through extensive advocacy, the Health Unit resolved the following medical billing issues. These cases are representative of many medical billing disputes cases HCAC has resolved.
An Orange County consumer tried to resolve a hospital bill incurred in May, 2012. Consumer had no health coverage at the time of service. She paid the bill in the amount of $1182 that was due to the hospital but she continued to receive billing statements with an unpaid balance (over $8000) and eventually her account was sent to collection. She disputed the bills for many years since 2012 without any success and finally reached out to HCAC. HCAC intervened, disputed the bill on behalf of consumer, and escalated the matter to the executive management of the hospital. Through extensive advocacy, the hospital agreed to discharge the outstanding balance, pulled the account from collection and sent a written confirmation of zero balance.
An Orange County consumer with Orange County safety-net program requested assistance with a medical debt that was related to an emergency physician’s charges, which he was unaware until he pulled his credit report. The emergency visits was made during the time when he had coverage through the County’s safety-net program. Consumer had presented his insurance card to the emergency hospital at the time of service. Sometime after, he had changed his address and had not received any bills. When he found out the debt, he disputed with the collection agency and provided proof of health coverage at that time of service and a notice stating that the emergency physician’s bill was uncovered because the provider failed to timely file the claim. HCAC disputed with the collection, whose position was that the hospital had no responsibility to volunteer patient’s insurance information with the physicians. HCAC escalated the issue with the emergency hospital’s executive level staff, who stated that the contracted physicians had a shared system containing patients’ insurance information and investigated the claim. HCAC confirmed with the emergency physician that the account was pulled from the collection. The collection also sent a confirmation letter that the account was cancelled. Consumer later checked that the debt was removed from his credit report. Through HCAC advocacy the consumer’s debt was resolved.