Question: are clinics allowed to charge interest on medical bills? are they required to file claims with my secondary insurance after medicare? can they refuse treatment for a balance on an account after medicare has paid?
Clinics generally may charge interest on an unpaid balance for medical services of more than $10. This is termed a delinquency fee. Notice must be given that a delinquency fee will be imposed if the medical charges occurred after December 31, 2000. Notice can be given in two ways: 1. When a new patient comes to his or her first appointment and is asked to sign a number of forms, one of the forms will be an agreement to pay, and include interest charges on an unpaid or delinquent balance. By signing this form, the new patient agrees to be held personally responsible for payment and agrees to the payment terms as described; and 2. if the medical office previously did not charge interest, then upon at least ten days notice it may start collecting a delinquency fee on an unpaid balance.
Clinics are not required to file any claims with your supplemental insurance after Medicare has paid. Some clinics may do so as a courtesy, but it is not required.
A clinic cannot refuse treatment to one of its patients even if there is a balance on his or her account after Medicare has paid.
November 27, 2006