Can a hospital gave my name to an insurance carrier without my permission just because I told them I didn't have insurance?

Asked almost 5 years ago - Brownwood, TX

I don't have insurance and shop around. I asked the hospital how much it would cost for a prolactin & thyroid test & VP. They said $300-odd minus 20% if I paid in full that day. I had them clarify and they did: it wasn't a quote, but the real price. I paid upfront and got 20% off. I got a bill 2 weeks later for $700, and another one after that for an additional $450. They now say that it was a quote and that they kindly gave my name to Cardon Health Insurance so I could get CHI to pay the bill. CHI's robot is now calling me every other day to get me to sign up with their insurance. Is this a violation of my HIPAA rights? Do I have to pay the rest of the bill? They acknowledge my file says I got 20% off--only possible if I paid in full. They said it's their mistake, but my problem.

Additional information

When I got the bill, I called the H and casually asked how much it would cost for a Thyroid, Prolactin test, and VP. In less than a minute, the H answered:

Thyroid: 301.75
Prolactin: 348.24
VP: 38.67

When I called back later that day and identified myself, I was transferred to accounts payable, who said that they did not have exact prices. When I gave them the prices, they said, "Oh, well, what do you expect us to do?"

I paid $271.39 after the 20% off. I have no clue, nor do they, of how that figure was reached with any one or a combination of the three procedures I had done, but they are adamant that it is not their responsibility to pay for "our mistake."

The bill was due 10/02/09 and 10/08/09 and I have made no payments. My credit score is 760. My credit is perfect.

I have the names of the accounting person who was caught red-handed in the "we don't have the exact prices" lie.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Howard Robert Roitman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . An individual who believes that the Privacy Rule is not being upheld can file a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR).[22][23] However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the OCR has a long backlog and ignores most complaints. "Complaints of privacy violations have been piling up at the Department of Health and Human Services. Between April 2003 and Nov. 30, the agency fielded 23,896 complaints related to medical-privacy rules, but it has not yet taken any enforcement actions against hospitals, doctors, insurers or anyone else for rule violations. A spokesman for the agency says it has closed three-quarters of the complaints, typically because it found no violation or after it provided informal guidance to the parties involved."[24]

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