Debt Collector Wants Money I Already Paid. – Larry

“Dear Steve,

I had Aetna medical insurance through December of 2008 and enrolled in Kaiser beginning with my 2009 health insurance. I just received (dated Nov 2) a collection notice from the bill collector, RMS, representing Aetna stating that I owe the Aetna Mail Order Pharmacy for two prescriptions in 2008.

They give no information of what the medications were, the Rx numbers, the quantities or the refill or ship dates, just policy number and policy date! After 3 years, most people, not knowing they owed any money, will have not saved any records to verify that they in fact didn’t or didn’t pay for the prescriptions.

As an example, years back I received a bill from a hospital claiming I owed payment for a bill from one and one half years earlier. Luckily I still had the payment information showing that I HAD paid the bill.

1. Is this beyond the statute of limitations?

2. If not, is there any other provision in the law to prevent companies and collectors from claiming that someone owes something they never knew they owed and wait 3 years before sending the first notice?

3. Can I legally require them to provide specific information regarding the bill so I can check my records to see if they show a payment made at the time the order was filled? The mail order pharmacy was set up to automatically charge my credit card. I am presently contesting the charge until I receive med, Rx #, quantity and date info.



Dear Larry,

I’m not surprised the collection agency might not have information on the specific medications. That information seems like it would potentially run afoul of the HIPPA health information privacy regulations.

But the debt collector should be able to provide you with verification that you owe the debt. You should request this verification, in writing, within 30 days of initially being contacted about this old debt.

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Send the debt collector a certified, return receipt requested letter and ask for the verification that you owe this debt. It needs to be information that can help you determine the specific amount requested and not just a balance due.

Regarding the statute of limitations, it depends on what state you live in but the statue of limitations, or time barred debt, only means that if out of the statute they can’t sue you but they can attempt to collect till you die.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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