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doctors bill, 2 years later?

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#1 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:16 AM

A friend was seeing 2 doctors at the one surgery. She was a bulk bill patient, though they are a private practice (has a health care card).
She left (unhappy with the long waits and lack of continuity of care)and has been going to a different practice for the last 2.5 years.
Now shes received a bill for 2 appointments (1 with her usual doctor, and 1 with a doctor she saw when hers was booked for weeks)
She doesnt see that she should pay, since she was bulk billed for all her appointments except these, so its probably a clerical error.
I know its bulk billed at the drs discretion, but can they raise a bill 2.5 years later?
And who is the appropriate authority to investigate?

#2 intd242

Posted 02 January 2013 - 03:58 AM

Has she spoken to the surgery about it?

#3 Funwith3

Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:34 AM

Maybe its not an invoice, maybe it's a statement. I would assume that for tax reasons, invoices cannot be issued after a 12 month period.

#4 JustBeige

Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:56 AM

QUOTE (Funwith3 @ 02/01/2013, 07:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe its not an invoice, maybe it's a statement. I would assume that for tax reasons, invoices cannot be issued after a 12 month period.

I would have thought this too.

She can call the ACCC or the Dept Of Fair Trade for advice.  Maybe Mediccare seeing she was a bulk billed patient.  

She doesnt have any old medicare statements to show that she was bulk billed.

#5 ~sydblue~

Posted 02 January 2013 - 07:31 AM

I would say you still have to pay it. DH said something about 7yrs being the allowed length of time to bill someone for services rendered.

#6 Phascogale

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:03 AM

I'd probably check with both the surgery and medicare.  As it's her bill and her consultation then medicare should be able to give her that information.  I'm not sure whether if she goes to a medicare office whether they can scan her card and get that info from it but a phone call will be quicker.  If a medicare rebate has already been paid for the consultations then you can't get it twice.  You may be expected to pay the difference between the cost of the consultation and the medicare rebate if this is the case.

It may just be a clerical error but your friend will probably need to speak to someone about this as it may turn into a debt against her name.

#7 Fright bat

Posted 02 January 2013 - 08:21 AM

Why do people jump to 'investigation' and 'reporting' before they make a simple phone call to the person in question.

Call the practice. See what is going on. Check the date on the invoice and make sure she hasn't just neglected to pay a prior invoice.

Once all this is done, and she's raised any concerns with the practice, if the issue remains unresolved, THEN seek to get external advice or report it.

#8 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:01 PM

she called the surgery to query why it wasn't raised when she was still a patient. After each appointment she stopped at the reception, and was told 'all bulk billed, see you on the 13th for your next appointment' (was an ongoing issue and she had blood tests coming back etc)
they have said 'doctor didn't put you through as bulk billed for that appointment' and 'we've been too busy to finalise the account before now'
she also requested her records when she left the surgery, and they didn't send an invoice at that time.

#9 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 02 January 2013 - 02:41 PM

I was chased for an 'unpaid' bill a while back.  He did the oldfashioned method of medicare sending me a cheque that I had to forward.

I was told at the time of the consults it was bulkbilled and no invoices were raised at the time.

A year later she tried to bill me for the whole amount and when I queried about the medicare part, she said I had never forwarded the cheques and then she said the cheques must have been stolen as she never cashed them--medicare confirmed the cheques had been presented.

I flatly refused to pay the medicare portion again, her challenged bookkeeping was not my problem but I was on the hook for the gap fee apparently.  I don't think it is ethical of the practice to charge that especially a year after the consults when they had said it was bulkbilled.  I did pay it after arguing with her.

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