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Yesterday I received a bill from a doctor in NYC addressed to my husband.  The bill was for services rendered in March, 2011!!  Almost 2 1/2 years ago.  The total bill was $7500.00 and our insurance paid $5500.00 in that same month.  Now I have gotten a bill, or rather my husband has gotten a bill, for the remaining $2000.00.

To say I am angry is an understatement!  Not just that the bill came years after the service but that I now have had to relive that horrible time when we were desperately trying to save his life and had gone cross country to Mount Sinai to find the best surgeon in the country.  It turns out the surgeon really wanted to do the surgery so his fellow physicians could observe this extremely unusual surgery.  I don't believe he ever though he could actually save my husband but he put him through a 12 hour surgery anyway.  When he came out to speak to me after the surgery he was elated about how well it had gone and almost as an aside he said, by the way, this was not a cure, his cancer is too aggressive.  

As a matter of principle I do not want to pay this bill.  How dare they bill me years later!  But, do I morally or legally owe it?  I want to send the invoice back with a big DECEASED written across the front but a friend here in California says that at least in this state that they have up to 4 1/2 years to bill you!!!

What do you think?  Am I overreacting and should I just pay it?  It makes me wonder if there are any other surprises waiting for me.  

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Comment by lizbeth4 on July 30, 2013 at 8:24pm

Barbie, That is good news.  The last bill I received for my deceased Husband was from his last chemo treatment.  I live in a community property state, so I have to pay his medical bills from his estate, re: any life insurance that was left to me.  They said I owed $6800, I checked with the insurance company and they had billed them twice, 2 different amount for the same treatment. They said they didn't pre authorize it and that I shouldn't have to pay it, and that the Doctor was "in network." I contacted the place where he had the chemo and told them what the insurance company said and they wrote it off.  It was a relief. I negotiated paying less for his numerous hospital stays and the pathology lab company told me to just send them a death certificate and they would write it off.  I pray that this is the last bill I receive.

Comment by Barbie Doll on July 30, 2013 at 2:27pm

Thanks for all your suggestions and help:)  I knew this would be the right place to vent.

I called our old insurance company but it was two insurance companies ago so I finally spoke to someone and they told me they had also be rebilled for the exact same amount but with different billing codes.  She said they are just money grabbing and that I am not liable for the bill since the doctor was "in network".  She also said they would have had to bill me within 15 months! looks like I do not have to pay this on any level but the damage has already been done.  I've spent the last two days remembering his diagnosis and surgery etc.

I guess there will always be triggers and reminders of those dark days.  Thanks for your support:)


Comment by judy on July 30, 2013 at 12:56pm

Hi Barbie Doll- every state is different - but for Florida if our name is not on the bill - we are not responsible for it.

Hope you get this straightened out.  could be an automatic computer error too?  Please let us know how you make out on this.

Comment by Renee on July 30, 2013 at 9:32am

Sorry Barbie Doll, I got a bill from the hospital for 3200.00, I sent them a copy of my

husbands certificate with a note that he would not be able to pay and I never

heard from them again. I never signed anything that said I was responsible for

his medical bills, I figured what difference would it make if he got bad credit. 

Comment by Lauralee on July 30, 2013 at 5:22am

Hi Barbie Doll - I am so sorry and outraged that you have received this bill and the new pain and suffering it has caused you.  I know each state handles things different and I am not from California.  To find out your rights concerning this, I would ask an attorney.  If money is an issue for you, usually the initial consultation is free and hopefully you can get an answer from that first meeting.  I would wait to ask this question until you meet because unfortunately lawyers, like surgeons, are all about the money.  Also, there may be a part of your state government that handles insurance inquiries - we have one here in Maryland and they may be able to advise you about this as well.  One other thing, if it turns out you do have to pay, there may be an insurance advocate (again we have these in Maryland through the local government) who may be able to negotiate and get the amount lowered.  I hope this helps and that you can get some peace soon.  

Comment by Patience on July 30, 2013 at 5:20am

Barbara, I would call the insurance company... Could it be that you had already met your deductible for that year.... and wouldn't owe that much out of pocket?  

Comment by Rae0523 on July 29, 2013 at 10:41pm

They sent me a bill for not as much, also in his name, but my husband was dead when he got to the hospital. He was dead when they got to the scene... and are charging me for what? Letting his body lay in a bed in the morgue portion of the hospital?! I understand your frustration. I don't intend on paying it.

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