Responding to Fraudulent Healthcare Provider Enrollment Charges
Dealing With Bogus Healthcare Enrollment Charges
Getting hit with fraudulent healthcare bills can be incredibly frustrating. As a lawyer, I’ve seen many clients struggle when medical providers falsely claim payment for services never rendered. It’s an annoying and complex issue to resolve. This article offers some guidance on responding to bogus enrollment fees, including legal defenses to try and practical steps to fix things.
What Triggers Fake Signup Costs
There are a few common ways innocent folks end up facing fake medical enrollment fees.
A shady broker signs you up for a plan without consent, pockets the commission, and vanishes. Or an agent lies to collect your personal info for identity theft. In other cases, scammers pretend to represent Medicare plans to access Social Security numbers and birthdates. The better business bureau warns it’s increasingly common.
Sometimes there’s simple human error – perhaps records got crossed and you were enrolled someplace by mistake. Other times, legit providers tack on questionable fees hoping you’ll just pay up.
Whatever the backstory, it’s annoying and unethical. The good news? There are ways to respond and protect yourself.
Don’t Ignore Fake Charges
It’s tempting to disregard suspicious medical bills, especially small ones. But ignoring them allows scammers to keep defrauding others. Reporting bogus fees also helps prevent consequences down the road if unpaid debts end up dinging your credit.
So open the mail and dig into any questionable healthcare signup costs. Doing a little legwork now can avoid bigger hassles later.
Gather Evidence on Fake Enrollment
Start by carefully reviewing the notice and gathering background details. Make copies of all paperwork in case you must dispute things later. Note the company name, account numbers, dates, and contact info.
If possible, get written proof you never enrolled with the entity billing you. That might mean affidavits from your actual insurance provider, paperwork showing your real Medicare registration date, or other evidence that contradicts the false fees.
The more documentation the better when fighting fraud. So gather up cancellation notices, emails, or anything else showing the charges are invented. It also helps to document who you spoke with by name, date, and what was said.
Dispute the Bogus Fees
Once you’ve compiled evidence, contact the provider billing you directly to dispute the false charges.
Explain clearly that you never enrolled with their company and ask them to remove the fees. Be polite yet firm. Provide copies of any paperwork that proves their claim untrue. Request details on when/how they think you signed up for their services.
If it seems to be an honest mistake, the provider should work with you to fix things quickly. If they resist, reiterate that you have proof their claim is inaccurate and you expect immediate correction.
Unfortunately, scammers won’t back down so easily when called out. If disputing directly with a shady medical provider fails to resolve the problem, don’t hesitate to bring in help.
Seek Legal Aid
If a company keeps demanding payment for services you never received, consider consulting a lawyer. An attorney can review your case details and evidence to advise the best way to proceed legally.
For example, your lawyer may send the fraudulent company formal notice demanding they stop collection efforts. The letter would lay out consequences from regulators and consumer agencies if they keep attempting to extract bogus fees.
If the firm ignores legal warnings, a few options exist to pursue the matter further:
File complaints – Reporting shady conduct to regulators can trigger investigations and disciplinary actions. Your state attorney general’s office, consumer protection bureau, and the FTC all field healthcare fraud reports.
Take legal action – You may have grounds to sue companies making up charges and illegally trying to collect. Consumer protection laws often allow victims to recover damages plus attorneys fees when wronged. Talk to a lawyer about merits for legal action.
Alert authorities – If a provider’s whole business model seems to rely on ripping people off, consider contacting law enforcement. Healthcare fraud steals billions annually. So the FBI and Department of Justice go after schemes defrauding Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE and other systems.
With help from an attorney, you can usually squash bogus charges and deter future misconduct. It’s rarely worth letting fraudsters pocket hundreds from innocent folks too hurried or hesitant to make things right. Don’t hesitate to push back on suspicious medical bills – and seek legal aid if bogus fees won’t disappear.
Avoid Healthcare Enrollment Scams
Once you shut down fake medical bills, take steps to prevent more enrollment fraud hassles.
Guard personal information – Don’t hand out insurance card copies, social security numbers, Medicare ID’s or other sensitive data to random people. Medical ID theft is real, so protect details that could allow crooks to pretend to be you.
Research brokers – If using an insurance agent, double check they are licensed and trusted to prevent shady sign ups. Resources like the NAIC database let you verify credentials.
Review paperwork – Carefully read any forms before signing to ensure you know what you are agreeing to. Make sure billing details match your chosen insurance provider. Ask for copies of everything signed.
Monitor statements – Routinely review medical bills and EOBs to catch irregular charges early. Report any fees from entities you don’t recognize to prevent headaches.
Staying vigilant protects from all kinds of healthcare fraud scams. And knowing your rights makes it easier to squash false enrollment charges before they become major issues. Don’t hesitate to push back on suspicious medical bills – and seek legal aid if bogus fees won’t disappear.