When does the statute of limitations start on a medical bill – the date incurred, first billing date, etc?

UPDATED: Apr 6, 2012

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When does the statute of limitations start on a medical bill – the date incurred, first billing date, etc?

There have been no payments made as it is a billing/insurance issue I have been unable to resolve and refuse to pay.

Asked on April 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The statute of limitations on any claim starts running when the action giving rise to the claim occurs. For a bill which is not paid, that would be when you allegedly defaulted on the bill, or failed to pay when due. For example: you had a procedure done in October; it will billed dated November  15 and you received it November 18; the bill stated that it was due "net 30," or within 30 days of receipt; it would therefore not be until at least December 19 that you would be considered to be in default, and so the statute of limitations would start running.

This obviously makes a difference when there is either a delay in billing, or when there is  long time to pay under the bill--such can push the SOL period back a considerable way from the date of the procedure. Or if there were discussions between you and the provider (or its colleections agency) about payment, it may be that the SOL would not start running until such good faith talks broke down and you then defaulted on your payment obligation. Again, the issue, in a billing  dispute, is when the default, or failure or refusal to pay, occured, not when the procedure was done or the bill first issued.

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