Small medical bill causes credit problem

TULSA, Okla. - On the couch in his living room, we found Phil Davis with guitar and pic in hand, playing some heel tapping music.
What a great way to relax, he says.

And a minor procedure he had on his wrist several months ago, makes strumming his guitar, pain-free.

"The procedure was great, my wrist feels great, it still feels good," Phil tells us.

But Phil does take issue with the billing procedure.
He says he was offered a wrist brace, at no charge.
Then a charge appeared.

"They waited almost three months to bill me on the thing, and that's not right."

Since he hadn't used the it, Phil says his insurance company told him to return the brace, for which he was billed a co-pay of $53.

He did just that, but then, started getting collection notices from a medical equipment company down in Dallas.
Phil says he was told the unpaid bill would hit his credit report, which he knows could cause big financial problems later.

"Fifty bucks I can afford, but it's the principle, I'm not paying it."

We got in touch with the medical equipment distributor involved in Phil's case.
With help from the local doctor's office, we were able to resolve his billing and credit issues.
When dealing with any kind of medical situation like Phil's, experts say always get paperwork at the time of your appointment, showing what you may be expected to pay.
Should you return any equipment, be sure to get a written receipt for that, as well.
And be sure to keep all explanation of benefit forms you receive from your insurance company.
And when you get any paperwork saying your issue's been corrected, keep it, in case the problem ever resurfaces.
For now, though, Phil can once again relax, through his music.
Experts say check your credit report a few times a year.
Through annual credit, you can check each of the three major credit bureaus once a year, for free.


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