Should I have to pay additional amounts regarding old bills, if my doctor’s clerk made a mistake and underbilled me?

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Should I have to pay additional amounts regarding old bills, if my doctor’s clerk made a mistake and underbilled me?

I suddenly received a bill for $400 from my chiropractor. He told me that they fired their clerk because she had not billed correctly. The doctor admitted it was his mistake and that he should have caught her error, but he wants me to pay the back amount due from 01/09 until this summer. I replied, I’m sorry but how is that my fault? I offered to pay $100 only and call it good, but now he wants me to pay $200. Can he legally do this? He is getting money from my insurance but is trying to collect the rest because she made a mistake and he has to pay other clients that were overcharged.

Asked on December 3, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have to pay what you should have paid had the billing been done correctly: just as if you were overbilled by accident and discovered it, the doctor would have to return the overpayment, so if you are underbilled by accident, you need to make good the shortfall. So the issue is, what should you have paid for these services? That's the amount you need to pay--you do NOT need to pay more than you would have paid for those services at the time, if billed correctly, simply because the health care provider is trying to cover for other mistakes or costs she incurred. As a practical matter, it may be difficult to determine what that correct amount was; but legally, whatever that amount, that's what you should pay.


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