We the Patients

Hit With A Bill 3 Years Later – Wendy’s Story

When she booked her appointment using ZocDoc, Queens-based Wendy Z. made absolutely certain the provider she chose was in-network. After she received care, she thought nothing more of the visit until she got a bill in the mail three years later.

“At first I thought it was spam sent to my email. ” When Wendy tried to dispute the belated bill, she was told that the 90-day period to appeal the bill with her insurance plan had passed. She tried to explain the error and was dismissed.

Wendy’s provider had submitted to her insurance the month after the service, so she felt confident that the provider was in-network and that insurance had covered the visit. However, the doctor she located through ZocDoc was, in fact, out of network. 

“It makes me less likely to trust medical providers or to even seek care,” She said. “And I will certainly not go back to this practice. I’m just glad I found CHA. It’s a relief having someone in your corner who understands the healthcare system and advocates for patients’ rights.”

Wendy budgets her medical expenses to the dollar, even taking advantage of her company’s HSA benefits to cover copayments up to the amount of her deductible.  She did not account for a bill for services that occurred three years prior. She got in touch with Community Health Advocates, who was able to negotiate the bill with the provider based on the misinformation Wendy received compounded by the delayed billing.

Wendy’s advice? “You need to make a paper trail of everything,” She said, referring to screenshots she had taken of her insurance provider’s website and ZocDoc. “Don’t just take someone’s word for it.”

To learn more about the campaign to end medical debt in New York, visit cssny.org/EndMedicalDebt. Have a story to share about your healthcare experience? Contact us at wethepatients@cssny.org.

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