Can a medical billing company impose a service fee on a service fee not paid?

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Can a medical billing company impose a service fee on a service fee not paid?

I paid over 1/2 of one of many medical bills and was charged a service fee that I feel was out of line for my efforts. I want to clear the bill without the fee but do not wish to increase the amount owed.

Asked on November 16, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is twofold:

1) Did any of the paperwork by which you incurred the medical costs (e.g. statements; agreements; terms of service; invoices; etc.) state clearly that if you didn't pay, you could be charged a service or collection fee? If you did not "agree"--even implicitly; by going ahead with matters after being put on notice that nonpayment would result in fees--to such a fee, you can't be charged it, though if you did, they can.

2) If the fee is valid and is not paid, then probably a service fee for further collections efforts for it would be allowed. Basically, if the service fee is added to the balance owed, then it becomes part of that balance the same as any other charge, and if there's a service fee for collecting that balance, one could be imposed on any outstanding balance, regardless of source.


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