Ballwin, MO asked in Health Care Law, Consumer Law and Collections for Missouri

Q: What is the statute of limitations for when a hospital presents a bill for services rendered which must be paid?

The service was performed in August of 2017 and the first time I ever saw a bill was November of 2019. I assumed (and forgot) that insurance covered it and it was a done. When the bill showed up, I first asked for an explanation of benefits as well as the excuse for only seeing it 27 months later and they claimed the insurance company dragged their feet. As I understand it, insurance companies have to resolve a claim within 12 months so again it seems like the hospital dropped the ball and is counting on my ignorance to pay a bill they probably should have written off. I don't want to go to collections, but also want to know what my rights are for a bill so ridiculously outdated already the first time the bill was sent to me to pay. Thank you.

1 Lawyer Answer
Ronald J. Eisenberg
Ronald J. Eisenberg
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Chesterfield, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: You are mistaken. The statute of limitations is at least 5 years. It is 10 years on a written promise to pay money.

What actions within five years.

516.120. Within five years:

(1) All actions upon contracts, obligations or liabilities, express or implied, except those mentioned in section 516.110, and except upon judgments or decrees of a court of record, and except where a different time is herein limited;

(2) An action upon a liability created by a statute other than a penalty or forfeiture;

(3) An action for trespass on real estate;

(4) An action for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the recovery of specific personal property, or for any other injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not herein otherwise enumerated;

(5) An action for relief on the ground of fraud, the cause of action in such case to be deemed not to have accrued until the discovery by the aggrieved party, at any time within ten years, of the facts constituting the fraud.

What action shall be commenced within ten years.

516.110. Within ten years:

(1) An action upon any writing, whether sealed or unsealed, for the payment of money or property;

(2) Actions brought on any covenant of warranty contained in any deed of conveyance of land shall be brought within ten years next after there shall have been a final decision against the title of the covenantor in such deed, and actions on any covenant of seizin contained in any such deed shall be brought within ten years after the cause of such action shall accrue;

(3) Actions for relief, not herein otherwise provided for.

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