We've just been handed a weird situation.
Yesterday we got a notice from a collection company wanting to collect a bill in the amount of $882 from a group of anesthesiologists. It was addressed to my husband.
It has been years since his last surgery - according to the collection company, the date of service was 1997. We'd NEVER gotten a bill for any services relating to this surgery. The insurance company we had at the time was an HMO, and typically all the bills got sent to them. If there is a problem, then a bill would come to us 1-2 months later, and we'd have to get things straightened out, but it was never much of a problem. In this case, the hospital and the insurance company were conveniently owned by the same company and we never heard another thing, so we figured all was well with the world.
Guess we were wrong, because FOUR YEARS LATER, we get this collection notice! We NEVER heard ANYTHING about this anesthesiology group not getting paid. We are not the kind of people who do not pay bills and we don't let stuff like this slide. My husband is absolutely furious because he's afraid this whole thing is going to screw up his credit rating. The people at the collection agency were less than helpful, the hospital no longer has the records of his surgery in their computers (it's all on microfiche in a warehouse somewhere), and the offices of the anesthesiologist and surgeon who treated him closed early today, so he could not call them to find out anything. He has yet to call the insurance company - at first we weren't sure which one we needed to call, since we've had several in the last 10 years and we no longer live in the same state - but I have a hard time believing they didn't get paid. They knew where we lived, and they could have sent us a bill at any time. It is just beyond ridiculous that we could hear *nothing* all this time and then suddenly get a notice that we owed this money.
Since we've never been in this situation before, I have no idea what our rights or recourses are. My husband will call the insurance company on Monday, but it has been years since they've covered us, so if they did screw up and never paid, I don't know if they can be made to do so now. We can't prove we never got a bill. I don't know what else to do. I know we need to clear this up before we move on to trying to fix his credit report, but that's about all.