I had surgery in December 2011 and at that time the hospital said all I would owe would be $1500.00 after insurance company paid their part. I signed a piece of paper agreeing to pay $100.00 per month until the $1500 was paid in full. Now they are saying I owe over $18,000.00 because the insurance did not pay as much as they thought. I have contacted the hospital and have informed them that I cannot pay $18,000.00 and they say there is nothing they or I can do except to pay the balance.
Your rights are probably going to depend to a large extent on any written agreements between you and the hospital. If you do owe the money, it is possible the hospital could take you to court and try to get a judgment against you for the amount owed plus their attorney's fees. It is more likely that they would just turn the debt over to a collection agency. You may want to send a letter to the hospital by certified mail, return receipt requested, stating that you are disputing the debt and asking for verification that you owe the amount they are claiming.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.
Interesting scenario. First, if the piece of paper you signed was a contract (regardless of what it is titled), then it is possible to rely upon the piece of paper. However, this cuts both ways. If you do not have a copy, then you need to get one.
Second, make sure the billing parties are actually the hospital with whom you signed the piece of paper . Often, doctors or an assortment of other businesses will bill patients after a hospital stay.
Third, unless otherwise authorized, no one other than a mortgage company, a repairman, an HOA, or taxing authorities should be placing a lien against homestead properties in the State of Texas. Judgments may attach to other property in Texas, though. It wasn't clear from your question whether a lien has been filed, or on what type of property the lien was (or was threatened) to be filed.
It's probably worth your time to consult with an attorney to guide you appropriately.
The above statements are provided as general information and not intended as legal advice. Each matter has its own set of unique circumstances that cannot be adequately addressed without consultation. You are strongly advised to hire an attorney licensed to practice law in your state to represent you.
First, you need to get your copy of your insurance policy, read it to see if your surgery should have been covered, and if so, then call you insurance and asked why they did not pay. It is best to be polite, at least at first. Also, the medical provider may need to run the insurance through again to get it accepted because they submitted it wrong. It could simply be a clerical error. If you believe that the surgery was covered, but the insurance refuses to pay, you really need to see an attorney.
You don't say what the surgery was (necessary, elective?) or what type of insurance you have, so it is hard to truly give you the best advice. It seems like a heck of a mistake to go from $1,500 to $18,000 and if this was elective surgery, you sound like you would not have gotten it under these conditions.
If you cannot get relief by doing the above, I would look closely at the contract you signed and exactly what you promised to do. Likely it has a disclaimer on it protecting the hospital, but look anyway. Also, never underestimate the power of negotiation. If you have to pay, you may be able to get the hospital to lower the amount owed and work out a reasonable plan (or you may have an attorney do this--sometimes just having an attorney representing you will give you better negotiating power).
This answer is provided for guidance only. Jennifer J. Clayton is an attorney licensed in Texas. She provides general information on Avvo.com. No attorney-client relationship arises out of the information given here.
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