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Lots of doctors and lab companies pull this as a regular stunt and people fall for it. Many times (not saying this is absolutely true in your case) the insurance company will tell you to send them the bill for the overage and they'll take care of it (usually, I think, by telling the doctor/lab "you were contracted by us to cover our insured for that procedure for $xxx and you may not bill them for extra").

Yep. Several years ago, I met my deductible. Two years later I got a bill from a provider stating it was past due. Turns out the doc office submitted the valid claim with the wrong account number (their error) and the insurance contract only covered claims filed within 2 years. It was immediately rejected and they never followed up until they pushed off the "bad" account to a collector. I sent them a short sweet letter telling them they didn't get paid due to their negligence and that I would not pay it and I'd be happy to go to small claims court if they wanted to pursue it... never heard another word.

Even now with a HDHP, I wait until the provider bills my insurance company. That way I know my insurer has documented my out of pocket expense and also that the provider is billing at the insurer's preferred rate and not screwing me over. (I really think most of these situations are more incompetence/errors than outright attempts to screw the patient though... I can only imagine the administrative pain of dealing with each insurance company)

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