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Enloe Medical Center - Unfair billing practices

Back in Sept. of last year, following a surprise trip to the ER I was met with an unplanned bill close to 5K after insurance. That was six months ago and during that time I paid the account down to $200 in monthly installments. Yesterday I received a call from a local collection agency telling me that my bill was sent to collections and that my credit report would now show this. I called Enloe and the very nice business office employee said that although she could see why I'd be angry, it's been their policy for many decades to send ALL accounts that are not paid off by six months, to a collection agency unless other arrangements have been made. So this organization sends all these people to collection agencies, even when they are paying off their accounts responsibly and timely. She mentioned that they do have an unadvertised or unofficial payment plan system but despite my phone calls to set that up initially, that arrangement never happened in my case. Even with my large and consistent payments, Enloe never even considered offering me a payment plan in an effort to avoid the damage from collections nor did they set it up when I called and asked. No phone call, no consideration, no nothing. The policy blindly groups together everyone regardless of their financial responsibility or their good-faith efforts to pay their bill. Aside from the little "late warning" on the bottom of each and every monthly statement that Enloe sends out, there is absolutely no other warning that your account is about to be collected upon... Our little community of Chico is very lucky to have a nice modern hospital like Enloe with all its remarkable and compassionate caregivers. I just hope that they can revisit their billing policy to extend some of that same compassion to their patients once they return home. Is it too much to ask that a billing employee could put eyes on each account BEFORE submitting it to collections so that they could eliminate sending accounts that clearly do not warrant said action.

User's recommendation: Be very careful in terms of paying off your bill!

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ID
#2465307 Review #2465307 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Location
Chico, California
Preferred solution
To change their policy so others do not fall victim.