How long can a medical provider wait before they have to bill you and you are legally obligated to pay the bill? 1 year? 5 years? 20 years?

I just received a medical bill for services 16 months ago that my insurance company didn't pay. It is the first and only bill I ever received for these services. How long can a medical provider wait before they have to bill you and you are legally obligated to pay the bill? One year? 2 years? 5 years? 20 years?

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  • WRG
    Lv 7
    4 years ago
    Favourite answer

    Varies by state. But if they tried to get the insurance carrier to pay it the time doesn't start until it has been totally refused.

    Odds are they are within the limit of any state you might live in.

  • 4 years ago

    Even if you have insurance you need to figure that probably (with obamacare and high deductibles) that you're going to have to pay a good chunk of the medical bill and out of pocket. I'd first contact the insurance company and ask them what took them to so long to bill you, and what part they insured and why didn't they pay the balance. If you got the medical services then you are required to pay that balance, you're obligated forever (your entire life). So first talk with the insurance company, then talk with your doctor (maybe they used the wrong coding so ask), and then get back to who is billing you and make a repayment schedule. If you have an income problem then tell them that, and especially if you are older and know in your lifetime you could never pay all that back ask them if there is some way they can reduce it (the full amount), and tell them how much per month you can afford to pay on it.

  • Judith
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Why should there be a limit? If the insurance company doesn't pay then you owe the provider for the services the provider performed. It's as simple as that. And what difference should it make to you whether you got the bill a year ago or now - it doesn't change the fact that you owe them.

    In the 1980s I saw a psychiatrist and whoever was in charge of billing in his office, which he shared with several other psychologists and/or psychiatrists, didn't do their job properly for years. It was only when they got a new employee that everything got straightened out financially. Bills which weren't submitted to insurance companies - were. Bills which should have been sent to patients but weren't - were finally sent. I paid what I owed because I owed it. So should you.

  • 4 years ago

    Debt has no real time limit, as evidenced by a 30-year mortgage. If they've taken 16 months to bill you however, you've had all that time to get that money together. You should be thinking of it as a gift. Most creditors want their money far more speedily. You got a significant bonus, particularly if they're not charging you interest on the debt.

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  • 4 years ago

    That would depend on the state you are in. Definitely longer than 16 months. Most debt statues of limitations are 4 years.

    Now that they have billed you, they have a while to wait for you to pay prior to suing you. They will win.

  • Ti
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Most bill you before the statute of limitations expires. It could be as few as three years or as many as twenty depending on where you live.

    That doesn't mean, however, that they can't bill you after that, but your legal obligation to pay will have expired.

  • 4 years ago

    Call your insurance company and ask if the office submitted the claim the insurance "within timely filing limits." If the office waited so long to file a claim that the insurance will no longer pay for it then the office will often write off the balance as their error.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    16 mos is suspicious;

    puts undo burden on consumer.

    i think the biller is just trolling to see what they can get;

    i'd challenge it.

    consider calling some lawyers who consumer law & contact state consumer protection dept.

    maybe fed trade commission be involved, FTC.

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