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TAKING ACTION: WHNT News 19 helps man recover overpaid hospital charges

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - A Madison County man writes us saying his son's recent hospital bill was actually overpaid by several thousand dollars, but yet the hospital wanted more.  Gary Wilson says he had no choice but to pay up in order to protect his son's credit. That's when he called us.

Here's how it breaks down. When Gary Wilson's son, Mac, was admitted to Madison Hospital earlier this year, the bill came to $27,333.22.  His Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance paid $26,433.22, leaving Gary with a balance of $900.  But Gary's son had a second policy that also paid the hospital $4,000. It means the hospital was actually overpaid by some $3,100. But it didn't end there.

"The hospital started calling him and calling me, hey you owe us this $900 and if you don't pay, we're gonna send you to collections," Wilson explained to us.

The hospital was trying to collect the $900 that Blue Cross didn't pay, even though the other insurance had more than covered that. Wilson says he went to the hospital thinking there must be some misunderstanding because the bill had clearly been overpaid.  He recounted the conversation for us.

"'Well, that's not how we account for it and so you'll have to talk to the billing office if you have to'," he said.  "I said I've already talked to them. 'Well I'm sorry sir, that's just the way it is.  You still owe us $900'," Wilson said.

Wilson says the hospital agreed to discount the balance to $675 if he'd go ahead and pay.  He says he had no choice -- he paid the bill in order to protect his and his son's credit. That's when he called us, saying he felt he was at least entitled to that $675 back.

"If they would give me credit back for that, I'd be as happy as could be," Wilson said.

WHNT News 19 bypassed the billing office.  We wrote directly to hospital administrators explaining Mr. Wilson's situation.  We also provided copies of the paperwork he had saved.  In less than three days, the hospital notified Wilson's son he would be getting a refund. And when it arrived, they were very pleasantly surprised.

"They had paid us back the $675 that we had paid to bring the account to zero and they had paid us the $3,100 where the two insurances together had paid $3,100 more than the bill," Wilson explained.

Huntsville Hospital issued a statement to WHNT News 19 about the matter:

"Unintentional billing complications may occur when a private policy and more than one insurance company are involved. We appreciate the patient bringing the matter to our attention so we could resolve it for him."

"You knew the right people to talk to and I was just dealing with probably clerks in the billing office. So that's the way it was. We're very excited," Wilson told WHNT News 19's Al Whitaker.

"I'm glad it worked out the way it did," Al replied.

"It sure did and WHNT does what they say," Wilson told us.

Privacy regulations prevent the hospital from being able to discuss any aspect of a patient's case. Still, we commend Huntsville Hospital for their quick action in resolving this issue.

Got a problem and need some help? Tell us how WHNT News 19 can take action for you.

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