Hi, I am in upstate NY. I had surgery in November of 1999 to prevent the spread of a small cancer. This was done at a private hospital in my city of Oswego, NY. I recieved a bill for the services in Dec of 1999 for the amount of aprox $650, I paid a deposit and discussed with the billing dept. that I would continue to do so until my Income tax refund check came in the spring. They agreed. I made payments in January and march. They charged a lot of intrest so I was sure to pay them off first, and spoke to my fiance about this decision. After i recieved and deposited my income tax refund check (somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,500) I remember getting two money orders from my bank (On an account I no longer have) because they do not write money orders over 500.00, they split it in half. I mailed these money orders to the hospital , and never recieved another bill. (This hospital has never mailed back a receipt).
Until... This August (2001 mind you) I recieve a bill from the hospital for the $650.00! I went to there office in person and spoke to a woman there. She said I owed the bill, that there had been some changes in thier system and some bills from 1999 and early 2000 had been "Stuck in the system". I have repeatdly told them that i paid the bill, but they say I didn't. They keep asking for check stubs. I did not even have a checking account in 1999. I either did not keep the money order stubs, or they have been lost or tossed since I paid the bill 1 and 1/2 years ago, and haven't heard a word from them since then. I even got proof from there billing department saying the last bill I recieved was in March 2000.
Can they bill me for something from so long ago and expect that I pay it? How can they expect someone to keep records for that long?
I am angry about this. I have let them know that I am seeking legal advice and I am not going to pay a bill i already paid.
And as a side note, there are several other people I know who have just gotten bills from the same hospital from as early as February 1999. Many of witch would have been covered by their insurance companies.
What is the time limit a company has to tell you that you owe them money? There must be one, otherwise wouldn't a lot of unsavory people be double billing us?
I hope someone can help me with some advice. Thanks --Debbie