Lakewood man’s surprise medical bill reduced to $0

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Contact Denver7 gets results for a Lakewood couple sent to collections for an $800 medical bill from a doctor they say they’ve never met. Since our first story aired, their bill has gone down to zero.

David and Jennifer Piwonski fought against the bill after receiving documents last month. They had been sent to collections for a medical bill which they claim they never received.

“It kind of popped up,” Jennifer Piwonski said. “I was angry that he was treated like this.”

In 2021, David Piwonski spent eight days at Sky Ridge Medical Center after suffering an abdominal aneurysm. It was inpatient treatment, but the surprise bill was for outpatient services.

It was also for emergency care while he was in intensive care. It was also for an out-of-network provider, Dr. David Jones, at an in-network hospital.

“So we’re calling this type of drive-thru medicine,” said Adam Fox of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, who said this type of billing is no longer legal under the federal No Surprised Act, which came into effect. effective two weeks after the hospital stay. “It’s pretty ridiculous for a consumer to receive a bill like this, for out-of-network services, given that there are now strong legal protections in place.”

However, doctors can bill for medical services up to six years after they are provided, Fox said.

In a statement to Contact Denver7, Aspen Medical Management, the physician billing representative defended the bill:

“The services invoiced to Mr. Piwonski are valid. We sent numerous statements to Mr. Piwonski at the same address where he was served. Our office has had no response to the statements sent to Mr. Piwonski. As a result, the account was forwarded to our collection agency. Our office was not contacted until after Mr. Piwonski was served. We recently discussed the charges with Mr. Piwonski. Their insurance company has been contacted and we are awaiting their response.

Since then, however, the Piwonskis have said their insurance company, United Healthcare, has restated the claim. They also registered with Naviguard, a consumer advocacy firm that handles out-of-network complaints.

“In fact, being able to contact the right people and get things done has been a big help,” said David Piwonski.

A United Healthcare spokesperson released this statement to Contact Denver7:

“We work on behalf of our members to help settle egregious or excessive pay bills from out-of-network providers, especially those operating in in-network facilities. We worked with the couple and the issue was resolved.

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