To the Editor: Frustrated with Liberty billing

I am very frustrated with Liberty Ambulance billing. Hopefully this letter will help others who might find themselves in a similar situation.

In December 2016 I suffered an accident that required an ambulance response and five subsequent days in the hospital. From an emergency medical treatment perspective, Liberty Ambulance responded in a timely fashion and took good care of me. However, my frustration comes from their billing department.

I have two health insurance plans that Liberty billed. The secondary plan, Government Employees Hospital Association, sent me an explanation of benefits that was processed on March 24, 2017, that said the member (me) responsibility was $0.00. However, in April 2017, I got a bill from Liberty Ambulance that showed, after insurance payments, that I owed more than $1,800.

I called GEHA and they said, “No, you owe nothing.” I then sent a letter to Liberty Ambulance with a copy of the EOB from GEHA and explained that my bill was paid in full and I owed nothing.

In May 2017 I received another bill from Liberty. I sent them a second letter again with a copy of the GEHA explanation of benefits and again said that, per GEHA, I owed nothing. I also encouraged Liberty to call GEHA (they had told me they would be happy to talk with Liberty) if Liberty needed further explanation.

Unfortunately, in October 2017, I received another bill from Liberty. I wrote a third, and last, letter to Liberty. I reminded them of the two previous letters and explanations that I had sent them indicating that, per GEHA, I owed nothing. I also told Liberty that I had spoken with GEHA and I had been told to ignore any future billing since I owed nothing.

In November, and then again in December, I received bills from Liberty which said that my account was seriously DELINQUENT (their emphasis) and would be considered for “further collection action.” Plus Liberty’s bill said that if I had questions regarding payment I should direct them to my insurance company.

I again called GEHA, was connected with a different representative and was again told that I owed nothing. This representative then kept me on the line and called Liberty. She very plainly told Liberty that since I am over 65, Liberty can only bill that amount set by Medicare (and Liberty had already been paid that amount). The GEHA representative further explained to Liberty that in January 1995 Congress passed the OBRA-B law which indicated that Liberty must write this unpaid balance off and that Liberty was actually breaking the law by continuing to send me a bill.

Apparently that explanation from GEHA had no impact on Liberty’s billing office. I was surprised, and disappointed, to receive another bill in March 2018 which said that a bill of more than $1,500 was “DUE NOW” and “This amount is your responsibility.”

As I said at the start of this letter, hopefully this explanation will help others who continue to receive a bill from Liberty after the insurance explanation of benefits indicates that Liberty has been paid in full and the member owes nothing.

Don Cortichiato

Story First Published: 2018-03-30