Medical Billing

received medical bill 2 years later

What Should You Do If You Have Received Medical Bill 2 Years Later?

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Medical billing is an efficient and quick accounting process, in which a patient’s payable bills are collected generally at the time of treatment. But due to some oversights or carelessness of the hospitals, they overlook collecting bills from the patient. However, when the staff realizes that they have missed a revenue opportunity, they send a bill no matter how many years have passed. Many people, in this regard, have already received medical bill 2 years later.

Yes, you read it right. Patients receive bills even after 2 years but the cases are only rare. If you are one of them, don’t worry. Our guide will help you understand what are the next steps to take after you have received medical bill 2 years later.

First of all, Confirm do You Owe the Bill

If you have received a bill 2 years later, before wasting any second you must make sure it is genuine. Following are some of the main reasons of late bills:

Administrative DelaysBilling department backlog or administrative errors
Insurance VerificationDelays in verifying insurance coverage or eligibility
Coding ErrorsIncorrect or delayed medical coding and documentation
Complex ProceduresExtended billing processes for complex treatments or surgeries
Provider OversightLack of oversight or follow-up by healthcare providers
Patient Information UpdatesDelayed updates to patient information or demographics
System GlitchesTechnical issues or system downtime affecting billing systems

As you have to show a quick response to the hospital bill, here are some ways you can follow to verify if you owe otherwise you can become a victim of scam or even misapprehension. 

1. Gather Essential Information

Gather all necessary paperwork, including insurance cards, receipts, and bills. The confirmation procedure will go more smoothly if you have this information on hand.

2. Review the Bill

Check the medical bill for accuracy with great care. Find the date of service, the services rendered, and the associated costs. Verify if everything corresponds to your appointments or treatments.

3. Verify Insurance Information

Verify the accuracy of your insurance information on the bill, including the policy number and group ID. Make sure that your insurance was in effect when the medical treatments were provided.

4. Check the Explanation of Benefits (EOB)

Compare the medical bill with the EOB from your insurance provider. The EOB details the covered services as well as any possible outstanding balance.

5. Contact the Billing Department

Contact the billing department of your healthcare provider if you have any queries or issues. They can explain anything unclear about the charges.

6. Look for Billing Errors

Billing mistakes can occur, so keep an eye out for them. Examine your statement for duplicate charges, inaccurate codes, or services you didn’t obtain. Ask for corrections if you discover any inaccuracies.

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7. Understand Insurance Processing Timeframes

Remember that processing insurance claims and reflecting them on the bill may take some time. Be patient and, if necessary, confirm with your insurance provider.

8. Inquire About Financial Assistance

Remember that processing insurance claims and reflecting them on the bill may take some time. Be patient and, if necessary, confirm with your insurance provider.

9. Seek Clarity from the Insurance Company

Contact your insurance provider for further information on the coverage. File a claim if you think your insurance should pay for a certain service.

10. Know the Collection Process

Learn about the collection procedure and the possible repercussions if the debt is not paid. Knowing this will assist you in staying informed and acting appropriately.

11. Consider Mediation or Patient Advocacy

Consider using a patient advocate or mediation services to help in the bargaining process if settling the bill proves difficult.

12. Negotiate a Payment Plan

If you are certain you owe the received medical bill 2 years later but are unable to pay it all at once, speak with your healthcare practitioner about creating a payment plan.

You can manage the costs by splitting them up into manageable amounts.

13. Keep Records of Communication

Keep a record of all communications you have with the insurance provider and healthcare provider regarding the bill. Having a record is beneficial in case any future conflicts occur.

What Is The Year Limit For Medical Bill Submissions?

Have a Look at These Things in The Bill

The medical billing submission limit is not an accurate figure for hospitals, as it varies according to the law of countries. But typically, 3-7 years is the period in which hospitals have the right to send bills. 

Not only 7 years but even after that hospitals have the authority to collect the remaining bills from the patients. But the question is that are you bound to cover expenses if received a medical bill 2 years later?

The simple answer is Yes. You have to spend co-payments or any other medical service charges to avoid legal complications.

But first, it is crucial to inquire about your bill from the insurance company and verify how much they paid and how much you have to pay. In many situations, they offer you a medical plan in return that can save you from paying bills immediately. 

Many such cases have also been reported that some medical bills were sent just due to any technical issue and didn’t applicable to the bill receiver. So it is a good idea to evaluate the situation thoroughly to save yourself from wasting money.

Rights you Have Regarding Late Bills

As a patient, you may face severe complications throughout the healthcare and billing procedure. Therefore, it is essential to know some rights you have so that you can act accordingly and take prudent steps:

Right 1: Accurate Billing Information

You are entitled to a medical bill that clearly outlines the services rendered, the dates on which they were rendered, and the associated costs. You can ask the healthcare provider to fix any inaccuracies or discrepancies if you find them.

Right 2: Timely Billing

Healthcare providers have a duty to promptly bill you for the services they provided. You have the right to early notification of any unpaid amounts to prevent confusion or unpleasant shocks.

Right 3: Understand the Bill

You have a right to fully comprehend the bill and all mentioned charges. Contact the billing division of the healthcare provider if you have any inquiries or require clarification.

Right 4: Dispute Billing Errors

You have the right to contest the charges if you think you’ve been charged unfairly or for services you didn’t get. You can demand that the billing error be looked into and fixed.

Right 5: Negotiate Payment Plans

You have the right to bargain with the healthcare provider for a fair payment plan if you are unable to make the full upfront payment. This enables you to handle the costs in more manageable chunks.

What Patients Can’t Do

Right 6: Financial Assistance

You have the right to ask the healthcare provider about any financial help programs they may offer if you are having financial difficulties. The financial strain of medical expenses may be lessened by these schemes.

Right 7: Protection from Harassment

You have the right to be free from intimidation or aggressive debt-collection tactics. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which establishes standards for lawful and considerate debt collection, must be adhered to by debt collectors.

Right 8: Confidentiality

You have the right to privacy when it comes to your received medical bill 2 years later and healthcare costs. Your billing records must be kept confidential by healthcare professionals.

Right 9: Appeal Claim Denials

You have the right to challenge the decision and offer more evidence to back up your claim if your insurance company rejects it. You have the option to appeal claim denials in order to perhaps get your medical services covered.

Right 10: Dispute Time-Barred Debts

Time-barred debts, sometimes known as past-due obligations, might not be legally enforced. You have the right to contest time-barred debts that are over their expiration date and refuse to pay them.

Right 11: Receive Billing Information in Writing

You have the right to have billing information in writing upon request. Included in this is an itemized statement that lists the services offered and the associated costs.

Right 12: Financial Responsibility Disclosure

You have the right to be aware of your financial obligations before seeking medical care. Any anticipated copayments or out-of-pocket expenses should be disclosed by healthcare providers.

Process Of Paying a Received Medical Bill 2 Years Later

6 Ways You Can Pay The Bill

If you have received medical bill 2 years later and struggle to find out where to start, here are 5 steps that you can follow to lessen your financial troubles:

  1. Check Your Records

Sometimes due to any manual error, bills that you have paid already, are marked as unpaid by the hospital staff. So if you have received medical bill 2 years later, always examine the bills records, how much you paid and what is the remaining expenditure.

  1. Contact The Provider

Have a detailed telephonic discussion with the billing provider and ask for all the explanations why they send the bill. You must also make sure to ask for all credible details of the billing provider as there is a high chance of getting scammed.

  1. Follow-Up With Insurance Company

After speaking with the billing provider, contact your insurance company and get details about the bill. Inquire what medical services they paid for at the time of treatment.

  1. Ask For The Documents

Just like you confirmed with the billing provider about the authentication of the late bill, you must also ask the insurance company about supporting documents and evidence that they paid for your health service.

This will give you an idea about the credibility of the medical bill.

  1. Pay The Bill

In the end, if the bill is authentic and you are identified as the actual recipient, you have to pay the cost to avoid serious outcomes.

Consequences If You Don’t Pay Medical Bills

The average period for paying a received medical bill 2 years later, is almost within 30 days. But again, every hospital has a different policy. Some may require bills to be paid immediately while some may give you an extended date. 

If due to any reason you are unable to pay bills within a specified duration, the hospital may charge you late fees, and further due can charge you heavy interest rates. Following is the detailed impact of late medical bill payment on credit score:

TimeframeImpact on Credit Score
0-30 Days LateMinimal impact, typically not reported to credit bureaus
31-60 Days LateNegative impact starts, reported as past due on credit report
61-90 Days LateCredit score further decreases, potential collection actions
91-120 Days LateSignificant impact, account may be sent to collections
Over 120 Days LateSevere impact, potential legal action, and judgment on credit report

Some patients are still not capable of paying bills, in that case, they are given the last warning, after which the hospital cooperates with a debt collection agency that provides debt to pay bills on your behalf.

It is worth-noted that although collection agencies can help you pay a received medical bill 2 years later, the consequences are worse.

i.e. it impacts your credit score inversely which can cause immense complications while securing loans from any firm in the future.

How Much Is The Late Fee? 

Typical Late Fee Range

Oftentimes patients succeed in getting financial assistance from varied sources when received medical bill 2 years later, in that case, they are free from paying any amount and the provider will pay on their behalf.

But if you are not one of them, there is an average of 1%-1.5% late fee of the total medical bill you have to pay.

However, many practitioners reveal that they rarely encounter such cases where late fees are applicable, as most of the patients pay bills on time after receiving them even after 2 years.

5 Options To Consider When You Can’t Pay The Bill

Financial conditions have become tough these days and paying medical bills is no exception. If you can’t afford to pay a medical bill, here are 3 options to consider that can assist you with satisfying burdensome medical expenditures.

1. Meet Your Healthcare Provider

As soon as you receive the bill, get in touch with the healthcare billing department first. They may be willing to work out a payment plan, or they have a number of financial assistance programs available to patients.

2. Negotiation

Try negotiating a better payment schedule or a smaller total bill with the healthcare provider if you don’t need help from anyone. Here are some tips for negotiating the bill successfully:

  • Examine every detail of your bill carefully and compare it with the going rates for similar health services in your town.
  • Be positive in your approach to the negotiation and be courteous to the billing staff.
  • To learn more about any potentially dubious charges, request an itemized bill.
  • Share the circumstances that are influencing your capacity to make payments.
  • Provide a payment schedule or amount that you can actually afford.
  • Decide on the highest price you can right ahead, and be ready to leave if the supplier won’t go further in negotiations.

3. Patient Advocate Foundation

After your communication with healthcare providers, if nothing seems to be helpful, consider this foundation.

It is a type of grant program that initially requires eligibility criteria to be fulfilled, after which you can get the funds to cover your expenses to pay a bill.

ProgramEligibility RequirementsBenefits
Hospital Financial AssistanceBased on income, uninsured status, or hardshipReduced or forgiven bills, payment plans.
Medical Debt Relief ProgramsVarious criteria, typically based on incomeDebt negotiation, reduced settlements.
Community Health CentersIncome-based, uninsured, or underinsuredSliding scale fees, discounted services.
Non-Profit Assistance FundsIncome criteria, specific medical conditionsGrants or funds for medical bill payments.

4. UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation

If this is a case of your child, this foundation should be your first stop. This program is offered specifically for kids and can give up to $5,000 in grants to children for particular ailments.

5. Upsolve

Upsolve is not a type of grant program, instead, it is a community that provides you with debts. It also offers legal help to make you better understand your situation.

But in order to avoid all these pitfalls, it is recommended to make your payment ensured at the moment when you receive the health service. Otherwise leaving it for tomorrow or keeping it delayed can result in future difficulties.

What Did You Learn from the Experience?

things to know about your insurance coverage

After facing this issue and getting out of it, instead of worrying about the situation you must pay attention to the experience of received medical bill 2 years later and what you learned from it.

It will protect you from future consequences and make sure of a flawless billing process. Here is what you should consider:

Understand Your Insurance Coverage

Spend some time learning about the benefits of your health insurance. Be aware of the services that are covered, the copayments or deductibles you must pay, and any special billing requirements your insurer may have.

Keep a Record of Medical Visits

Keep a log of all your medical visits. Note the occasions, the treatments you had, and any money you made. In the event of a delayed bill or a billing dispute, this record may be used as a reference.

Review Medical Bills Promptly

Review any medical bills as soon as you get them. Compare the charges to any Explanation of Benefits (EOB) from your insurance provider to ensure that they are in line with the services you got.

Address Billing Errors Immediately

Address any billing mistakes or inconsistencies as soon as you notice them. To solve the problems and prevent any payment delays, get in touch with the billing department of the healthcare provider.

Communicate with Your Provider

Make sure you and your healthcare practitioner are in constant contact regarding billing issues. 

Be Proactive with Insurance Claims

Check with your insurance provider if you’ve had a recent medical visit to make sure the claim has been handled. To prevent invoicing delays, follow up on any outstanding claims.

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    Stay Informed about Healthcare Changes

    Keep up with any alterations to your medical insurance, such as new insurance rules or altered billing processes. Billing surprises can be avoided by being informed of these changes.

    Budget for Out-of-Pocket Costs

    Plan for out-of-pocket expenses for medical care and factor them into your budget. You can better control your medical bills if you plan.

    Seek Financial Assistance if Needed

    Ask healthcare providers about their financial aid programs if you’re having trouble paying your bills. These initiatives can lessen the financial strain of expenses.

    Educate Yourself on Medical Coding

    You can make sense of your medical invoices and ensure appropriate billing by learning the fundamentals of medical coding. Learn the common codes that will most probably be used, before visiting the hospital.

    Consider Paperless Billing

    Select alternatives for paperless billing including online portals or electronic statements. You may retrieve your medical invoices more quickly and avoid misplacement by using paperless billing.

    Keep Track of Communication

    Keep a record of all communications with medical professionals, insurance providers, and billing divisions. You can resolve billing concerns by using a chat log.

    Your Guide to Action

    In the end, if you are unfortunate enough to get a surprise from a received medical bill 2 years later, there is no exception other than paying the bill.

    However, these tips and procedures will help you better handle the situation and relieve you from several worries.

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