My health insurance could not cover my medical expenses for the Mayo Clinic. Original bill was for about $1,400. It's $5k in collections.?

Hello, I went to the Mayo Clinic in Menomonie and was taken by an ambulance. My health partners insurance could not pay for the expenses which totalled $1,369.30. This was the bill i got for multiple months until it was forwarded to collections. Now that the bill is in collections, the bill is $5,392.69. I called the Mayo today and explained my concerns and frustrations. They told me that some expenses were still pending to go through on the final bill. The problem is, I got the bill of $1,369.30 for months until it went to collections. The collections bill is absurd! I need guidance on what to do next.


I was only at the Mayo for 3-4 hours, nothing too serious. Except that I had a panic attack and thought I was going to die.

13 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 5
    1 month ago

    Once you pay this off...............go to your nearest Fire Department and ask them about Fire Med.  Most towns have this; what you do is pay and then every time you call for an just tell them you have Fire Med, they will check the records and if you've paid your yearly amount, then you do NOT get charged for the Ambulance ride.

  • Kelly
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    I worked in hospitals for 12 years and my husband is a Cardiologist...

    $1400 is really low for an ER visit, an average ER visit is a few thousand dollars.  My mom was in the ER for about 4 hours in November and the bill was $7000.  

    An ambulance ride alone can be $1400.  

    There's also several different ways they bill usually there's at least 2 doctors involved in your case (even if you only saw one) and they don't usually work for the hospital directly so you might have a separate bill from each doctor.  If you were having a panic attack since they are similar to cardiac problems, they would have ordered cardiac tests and ordered a consult from a Cardiologist to read the results and come up with a diagnosis.  If it was a panic attack the Cardiologist may have consulted a psychiatric evaluation because a panic/anxiety attack is a form of mental illness.

    There's no way it's in collections yet (or your story is bogus) because when it gets to collections that means the hospital has charged off the account and written it off as a bad debt for tax purposes for them and they sell the account to a collection agency.  After that you owe the collection agency, not the hospital.

    If it gets to collections, there's nothing the hospital can do for you anymore because they no longer own the debt/account.  Prior to that they send out numerous notices a past due bill.  You could have contacted them before that and they would have tried working with you and you could have applied for financial aid with the account.

    The insurance company also would have let you know what they covered and didn't cover and what your portion was in an EOB (explanation of benefits) statement.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    It's too late for Mayo Clinic to do anything. You had several months during which you could have contacted them and disputed the charges; instead you ignored them. Understandably, they gave up on you ever paying. They sold the debt to a collections agency, so now that's who you owe the money to. 

    The increase in the bill is quite large, and you should try to find out what happened there. But it's entirely fair that it accrued penalties and interest every month that you refused to even talk to them.

    As for what you should do:

    * Get an itemized bill from the collections agency. Dispute any illegitimate charges.

    * Set up a payment plan and finally pay what you owe.

    * Enroll in better insurance next year.

    * Next time you get a bill you can't pay all at once, contact the creditor and set up a payment plan at a reasonable interest rate.

  • 1 month ago

    If you had made regular payments they would have worked with you although, you have to remember, hospitals are businesses with very high overhead expenses, and they need to make a profit. $1,369.30 is a very small amount for a hospital visit, which would make me believe the amount was actually higher. In some areas, the ambulance bill alone is priced in that area. 

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  • 2 months ago

    $1,400 would have been the ambulance fee.  Weren't you looked at by doctors?  Treated?  When you don't pay your bill and it goes to collections, they add their costs - you should expect to pay more.  A lot more if has been several months.  Penalties, possibly a finance fee too.  Pay it.  If you can't pay it all, call and work out a payment plan.  The longer the delay, the higher the bill and the more costs will be flushed down the toilet.  In several more months, if you don't pay, the collection agency will hand the file back to the hospital and they will sue you.  Bills like this are known to double rapidly.  What are you waiting for, for it to go up to $10k?

  • n2mama
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I don’t know anything about your specific insurance, but would clarify a couple of things.

    1. What kind of deductible do you have for your insurance, and had you already met it for the year at the time of treatment? If not, then your insurance isn’t going to kick in until the deductible is met.

    2. Was the Mayo Clinic considered in network or out of network for you? With my insurance, not only do I have separate deductibles for in network vs out of network, the coverage of my insurance is different for out of network. So that also might have impacted why your insurance didn’t pay for everything.

    3. The ambulance transportation may not have been covered by your insurance at all. Not all treatments and transports will be, you would need to talk to the insurance and find out.

    4. When you got your EOB from the insurance, did they pay for part of the services but not cover everything? Or did they deny the claim entirely? If they denied the claim, did you appeal the denial with your insurance? 

    I don’t know what you expected to happen when you ignored the bill for months. It doesn’t sound like you took any actions at all to try and address it or seek help. And now you are surprised that it has gone to collections and costs a whole lot more? At this point you can talk to collections about the options you have. If you can make a lump sum payment, you could offer a smaller amount and see if they will take it. Or you could discuss arranging a payment plan with them. Filing bankruptcy over $5000 is rather silly considering it will cost you about $1500 to file and impact you negatively for several years.

  • 2 months ago

    First go through the bill  LINE BY LINE and find charged that you can dispute.

    Example: they will charge you for a box of kleenex if it is in the room...even if you do not use one piece.  the price is usually like $25.00 for a tiny box.  They will charge you$15.00 for 1 aspirin, they will charge you $40.00 for an alcohol wipe.

    usually a person can find over $150.00 in un backable charges that can be disputed.

    Once you have those removed, then they have to remove the past due fees for those charges.  That will reduce your bill.

    No go to the hospital and tell them yo have no money to pay for the bill and ask that half the charges be dropped.  They will negotiate with you but they will allow some more to be taken off for hardship.

    Now, if it is not small enough to pay out a payment plan.  If they will not do that then pay a lawyer $1,000 to file bankruptcy for you.  That will wipe out the medical debt.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    You ignored a medical bill for months and months.  What did you think was going to happen?

    You can try to negotiate a settlement with the collection agency, but if you've got a job and/or a home, they probably won't play.   They'll likely sue you and have your wages garnished.   By the way, wage garnishment is going to cost you a butt-load because you also get to pay their attorney and court costs, ongoing interest, and in my state you get to pay your employer a 2% fee to handle the garnishment.    And garnishments are a 60 day cycle in my state so every 60 days they have to petition the court which means more legal fees tacked on.  This debt could end up costing you more than 10-20k if you don't get it taken care of.


  • 2 months ago

    When did the treatment occur?  Hopefully, it's not beyond the claim period for Health Partners.

    Since you were taken by ambulance, your health partners insurance should have covered the bill. You need to go back to health partners and appeal the denial since it was emergency treatment.

    - Unless health partners paid most of the bill (or applied the correct network rates) and the the $1369.30 is the amount that you are required to pay due to your deductible and plan requirements.

    When you received the original bill, did you contact the hospital financials aid dept for assistance?  If not, then they probably can't help you know.

    The bill in collections is now:  $5,392.69

    - how long have you ignored paying it?

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Welcome to the US where you can lose everything you've ever worked for with one illness/accident.   Mayo is just like Cleveland Clinic.  Top notch but their charges are even more outrageous than a regular hospital.  And...there is a form you sign when you go there (among the many other forms) that says that their charges "may" be above what your insurance will cover and you agree to pay the difference.

    I'll bet you signed it and didn't even know.

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