Health insurance companies can send checks?
Healthcare can be confusing. This is because you have to work out your healthcare plans and payments between three different parties: the healthcare provider, the healthcare insurance provider, and yourself.
Since you are the recipient of the care and the bills, you naturally will act as an unwilling go between, this can sometimes work out for your benefit, but most of the time leaves you liable for blame of the problems you face.
As such, when you receive a check from your healthcare insurance provider, you may be ecstatic. Finally, all the pain and suffering you’ve faced is paying off, and you can recoup some of your losses.
However, we would ask you to hold your horses and stay your hand, for that check could quite easily be a ticking time bomb.
How do you ask? Well, that is what we are here today to answer.
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What Could the Check Be for?
You receive your insurance check, and you think it is a gift from God. You spend it all and feel like a king for a week.
Suddenly, you are living in the Bahamas, with a yacht, and a private island, like a character from a movie, totally oblivious to the fact that every dollar you spend of that check is equal to drinking from a poison chalice.
When an insurer pays your medical bills, they will often pay directly to the hospital, but some of the time they will send a portion of the medical bill payoff to you.
This is normally done because of clerical error or a miscommunication on their part.
It should be noted that there are almost no circumstances where a medical insurance provider will send you money that is intended for your personal use.
The likelihood is that after a couple of days or weeks, you will receive a call from either the place that provided your personal healthcare – either a hospital or a clinic you go to – or your insurance provider, asking whether you received any money from them.
They will probably detail it as a mistake and either ask for the money back or ask you to send or destroy the check if you haven’t cashed it.
The cost of cashing this check could be high, as not only will you have to pay back the money, but you may lose your healthcare insurance and your healthcare provider, as you are now viewed as untrustworthy.
What Should I Do if I Get the Check?
Got sent a check from your insurance?
The best thing to do is to contact your health insurance provider immediately. By contacting them, you are showing that you are honest and getting in their good graces.
You are also avoiding the inevitable phone calls that will follow asking where the money has gone.
For this phone call, you may want to record it, as even though health insurance is necessary, we all know that they are still a business and will want to squeeze you for additional cash.
Please note, if you do record the call, notify them you are doing so.
Once this is done, then it might be best to call your healthcare provider. If you have had a procedure that your insurance is paying for, then this is necessary.
If not, then it might be worth doing just to check why your health insurance company is just throwing around checks.
Inform them of the mix-up and, if your insurance company told you about what should be happening with the check in terms of providing it to the provider, inform them of that as well.
Again, you may want to record this call in case anyone pulls a fast one, and you wind up in court.
Finally, never, I repeat, never cash the check.
The number one cause of bankruptcy in America today is medical debt and no matter how much is in that check, your insurance company and healthcare provider have the means to sue you for much more than it is worth.
If it is easier, log on to your healthcare insurance provider’s website and notify them there. Remember, though, always record and keep records of these exchanges.
What Should I Do if I Cash the Check?
Now comes the tricky part. If you want to cash the check, you need to make sure that that money is yours first, because 90% of the time it is not.
If you have cashed it without realizing, then it is an honest mistake, and you shouldn’t spend any of it. Instead, inform your health insurance provider that you received a check from them.
Don’t tell them that you cashed the check originally, just let them inform you of what is going on with it. If they tell you that that check was not intended for you and that you need to destroy it or send it back, then it might be worth telling them you cashed it without thinking because it was addressed to you.
They then may inform you what to do next. Often this is to pay the money to the healthcare provider directly.
If your health insurance provider tells you that money is for the healthcare provider, then thank them for their time and inform the healthcare provider that you were given money by your insurance company, asking them when it would be convenient to settle your debt with them.
That is the easy option. Unfortunately, companies love crying liable and fraud to rinse more money from you.
If that happens, then as long as you have records of everything proving that it was an honest mistake and that the onus of the error rests on the insurance company or the healthcare provider, because they should never have sent a check addressed to you directly containing money that wasn’t yours, then you should be alright.
What Happens if this Goes to a Debt Collection Agency?
If this goes to a debt collection agency, then remember you have rights.
Debt collections have become a lot stricter in recent years, they can no longer threaten you, your rights, your property or other members of your family.
They must provide a full notice of debt, and you cannot be threatened with prison. Remain calm always.
If you offered to pay the money back and offered to settle, then the fact that it has gone to a debt collection agency is a bit absurd.
In this situation, inform them that you offered to pay the money back and that they should never have gone to a debt collection agency. It might be at this point you want to speak to a lawyer as well.
Check your rights as a debtor and make sure you know the law.
Basically, if your health insurance company sends you a check, never cash it. It is almost never for you, and you should make sure that it is not for your healthcare provider before doing anything with it.
Often, it is a clerical error or miscommunication that has landed it on your doorstep.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to accept the live check loan, you must endorse the check by signing the back of the check and cashing or depositing the funds into your bank account. This creates a loan that you must repay on the due dates described in the loan agreement.
If you go to the same bank that issued the check, they should be able to confirm whether it is real right away. The same goes for cashier’s checks, which many people think are safer — but they can be faked as well.
The consequences of depositing a fake check — even unknowingly — can be costly. You may be responsible for repaying the entire amount of the check. While bank policies and state laws vary, you may have to pay the bank the entire amount of the fraudulent check that you cashed or deposited into your account.