Can a doctor’s office charge you a fee if you don’t pay the full amount within 25 days?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a doctor’s office charge you a fee if you don’t pay the full amount within 25 days?

I recently started going to a endocrinologist here in Oregon for ongoing care for thyroid cancer. Before they would agree to see me, I had to sign a paper saying that if I no-showed or cancelled my appointment with less than 24 hours notice for any reason, I would be charged the full cost of the appointment it was something like $300 for regular 15 minute appointment, $500 for 30 minutes, and $2,500 for the procedure appointment. I signed with hesitation because I needed care quickly and I never no-show appointments. It just struck me as odd because we have inclement weather sometimes here that is out of my control but I agreed nonetheless. I’ve had a couple appointments and I just received a bill that says if I don’t pay the full amount owed within 25 days, they will add a $25 late fee to my account. Luckily, I have the money at the moment, but there are time when my medical bills are so high that I can’t pay everything right away. Is charging a late

fee after only 25 days for a medical bill legal?

Asked on April 14, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They cannot add a late fee after the fact, if you had no prior warning of it; but if you did have prior or advance notice of the fee, such as by a sign in their office, someone on their website, in paperwork you signed, etc., you can be charged it, because in those cases, you are held to have agreed to the fee, either explicitly (e.g. signing something containing it) or implicitly (by making appointments when you are aware of the imposition of the fee).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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