Q: What can be done about my hospital bill now? Should I respond to the debt collector to have them validate the debt?
I gave birth to my son on 7/30/19 at 9:46pm. My husband and I have a high deductible insurance policy and expected to pay a large portion out of pocket, but we didn't expect to pay for stuff that never happened. The hospital strongly encourages NOT sending babies to the nursery. I kept my son with me 24/7 and the hospital charged me $3,650 for the nursery. I was charged $1,755 for the recovery room/board for 7/30 and $1,755 for 7/31. I wasn't in a recovery room on 7/30, I was in the labor and delivery room (a separate $4,300 charge for that room) as I gave birth later in the night and wasn't moved until 7/31. I can't be in two places at once and the hospital is double dipping by charging me simultaneously for two rooms! I disputed the charges unsuccessfully with the hospital. I even wrote a complaint to the Ohio Attorney General and after submitting the complaint against the hospital, the hospital sent my entire bill to collections ($10,163 total).
A: It is illegal for a hospital to charge for items that were not approved or authorized by you, to charge fees for services and rooms never provided, and some of the other conduct you described could also be illegal. You potentially have some claims under the Consumer Sales Practices Act in Ohio, if the hospital was also in Ohio. You need to contact a consumer lawyer ASAP that handles medical billing issue. You may have claims against not only the hospital, but potentially the debt collector depending on how they communicate with you. My office is looking into a couple similar issues in Ohio hospitals. Happy to direct you to an attorney or discuss more specifically with you about your options if you think it would help. You need to get a good consumer law attorney.
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