On February 1, 2016, I returned a phone call to a woman who had left a message for me over the weekend. The woman is from Hobart, Indiana.

I asked her if she were a new client of our insurance agency because I could not find her name in our database. She was not a client. She was calling for help.

A friend helped her to select and buy insurance over the internet. But, the friend is not a licensed insurance agent. She bought a health insurance policy that really did not fit her needs. Now, she owes over $6,000 in co-pays for cancer treatments. She told me that her doctor is refusing to give her any more treatments until the bill is paid or arrangements to pay it are made.

Unfortunately, I had to tell her that I could not help her – at least not yet. Federal laws that protect the privacy of personal health information prevent me from helping unless there is a special relationship with permission granted. Here is part of the letter that I sent to the elderly woman. I hope she understands.

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Because you used someone else to help you select and purchase your health insurance, I am unable to help you with your medical bill problem which you told me resulted in owing over $6,000 and the refusal of your doctor to continue treatments for cancer.

Federal law prohibits me from helping because you are not using this insurance agency for selecting and obtaining your insurance and you have not given us permission to question and speak for you regarding insurance matters.

You have our best wishes for your recovery from cancer.

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Many people can sell you insurance or help you to buy it over the internet. But, few people can counsel you to select an insurance plan THAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS WELL. I am proud to say that I work at an insurance agency where all the agents do their best to counsel a client to select an insurance plan that works well for the client.

Selecting an insurance agent or agency that really wants to help you find an insurance plan that works for you is very, very important. Making a mistake about your selection of a health insurance plan could cost you thousands of dollars. The woman who left the message for me over the weekend has learned that lesson the hard way.

Note: Woodrow Wilcox is the senior medical bill caseworker at Senior Care Insurance Services in Merrillville, Indiana. He has helped clients of that agency save over one million dollars by fighting medical bill mistakes and fraud in the Medicare system. Wilcox wrote the book SOLVING MEDICARE PROBLEM$.

© 2016 Woodrow Wilcox