Responsible party for medical bills


#1

Recently, my husband began receiving calls from a collection agency for a doctor bill for his son (who lives with his mother). My husband has never taken his son to this doctor, nor has this doctor ever sent us a bill. As it turns out, the mother took him. They put my husband’s name and the ex wife’s address in the responsible party section. She claims she never saw a bill either. My husband carries the insurance, as stated in the custody order, and they split the unpaid medical bills.

We have contacted the physician and requested they change the guarantor but they say they have to mail a form for my husband and the ex to sign (although they obviously did not need my husband’s signature, or presence, to initally put his name on there.) The ex wife refuses to call, sign, pay or in any way participate in correcting this. (This is a doctor the child will likely need to see again, so we need to make sure they bill the proper party. She gets the bills, we reimburse via a savings account in the son’s name that she and my husband can access - this is also how they have mutually agreed to transfer child support).

Is it legal for the medical office to assign my husband as the RP without his knowledge? Is it legal to send someone to collections for a bill they never received? We will not deal with the collection agency, but so far the office has failed to follow through on the promise to retract it from collections.

We offered to give her the full amount of the bill if she will just pay it and change the name. She refuses.

Is there any recourse for the current situation, and any way to avoid it in the future? I thought the parent who initially brought the child in was the responsible party, and it appears that way from a form I saw on the practice website, which requires a RP signature.


#2

Yes, as the child’s parent he is a responsible party. He may be able to contest the bill being sent to collections, and I suggest you inquire as to what your rights are with an attorney who specializes in debtors rights.


#3

A small response to the medical bill issue. If the child is with the mother most of the time but the father carries insurance, there is most likley going to be a communication gap between the parents. I suggest that it might be necessessary to file a motion for modification on the child custody order. In it, the parent whom does not carry the incurance MUST notify the parent carrying insurance if any current and future physicians. Communication between the parents in regards to scheduled Dr visits will be required. Sounds like the boys mother put the dads info on the card.
In the motion to amend, secify that the mother and father will each register with any new physician for the child.