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Okay, not quite that clear cut. This is largely my fault for being stupid. While waiting for the MRI center and insurance to figure out and tell me my final responsibility, I let a bill for a whopping $12 languish. I was kinda waiting for a breakdown from my insurance company (they always send one) explaining why my patient responsibility exceeded what was calculated on the day of service (I'm on a high deductible plan, so I pay the negotiated rate, no more, no less). I went ahead and paid it only once I received a final notice from the MRI center.

Well, the MRI center cashed my check on May 6th. Today I received a letter from a collection agency dated May 4th, for the same $12. Oops. So it seems they "crossed" in the mail. I just called the MRI center, and they verified that they received and processed my payment, I'm paid in full, nothing due. They're sending me a statement verifying this.

So now I need to deal with the collection agency. I know I have 30 days from receipt of the collection notice to respond, in writing. Should I simply ask them to verify the debt? Does that inquiry actually trigger them to contact the creditor, or would they simply look at their own records and reply - "Yep, it's valid"? Or, should I wait until I get the final statement from the MRI center, and include a copy of that with my letter? Is there any point to contact them via phone, or is that opening up a can of worms I'm better off avoiding?

Any tips or suggestions welcome. Just trying to figure out the best way to make this go away.
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