You may have recently received a bill from a company called the “Breg Billing Department” and are wondering – is this a scam? This vague and unfamiliar billing department has been sparking plenty of skepticism and complaints from consumers.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down exactly what the Breg Billing Department is, analyze if it is legitimate or a scam operation, and provide tips on how to handle any bills you receive to avoid getting ripped off.
What is the Breg Billing Department?
The Breg Billing Department refers to the medical billing service of a company called Breg, Inc. Breg is a legitimate medical device manufacturer that makes braces, splints, cold therapy systems and other healthcare products.
Here’s some quick background on this company:
History – Breg was founded in 1989 and is based in Carlsbad, CA. They sell medical products to hospitals, doctors’ offices, urgent care clinics and other healthcare providers.
Billing Process – Healthcare providers order and stock Breg products to use with patients. But Breg bills separately for their products after they’re given to patients.
Products Billed – Common Breg products that the Breg Billing Dept charges for include wrist braces, knee braces, back braces and ice/heat therapy devices provided at doctor visits.
So in summary, the Breg Billing Department sends bills directly to patients for Breg products you received from a healthcare provider, separate from the provider’s main charges.
Why Are People Suspicious of Breg Billing?
Despite being a real medical billing operation, people have many valid reasons to approach bills from the Breg Billing Department cautiously. Here are some of the concerning complaints about their billing tactics:
Unexpected Bills Weeks or Months Later
The most common complaint is that people receive a surprise bill from Breg for a product months after their doctor visit or hospital treatment. These unexpected bills are often a shock because patients assume the provider’s billing covered everything.
Lack of Transparency Around Breg Products
Patients report they were never informed a Breg product would be billed separately. No information is provided by healthcare staff that extra charges are coming.
No Insurance Billing Record
Insurance holders find no record of the Breg charges being submitted to insurance before coming directly to the patient. This violates typical protocol of billing insurance first.
High Price Markups
Another top complaint is excessive price markups on the Breg products. A basic wrist or knee brace may get billed for $200-$300 when it only costs $20-$30 to purchase at a pharmacy.
Aggressive Collection Tactics
Finally, people criticize Breg’s aggressive attempts to collect by hiring debt collectors, harming credit, and hassling patients for bills they were blindsided by.
Clearly there are many sketchy aspects to how the Breg Billing Department operates. Next we’ll break down in more detail whether their practices are actually fraudulent.
Is the Breg Billing Department a Scam?
Based on the pattern of behavior recapped above, many consumers feel the Breg Billing Department operates unethically and could even be considered a scam. However, the billing operations are technically legal due to loopholes allowing third-party medical suppliers to bill separately. Here is a full analysis:
What makes it feel like a scam?
There are good reasons why customers feel scammed by the Breg Billing Department:
- Never being told a Breg product would be billed later on
- Lack of insurance billing and EOB documentation
- Excessive pricing well above retail product costs
- Aggressive collection activities for unexpected bills
The combination of surprise billing and inflated prices certainly feels deceptive. However, in most cases it unfortunately does fall within the letter of the law.
Are their billing tactics actually illegal or fraudulent?
While the Breg Billing Department’s practices may be unethical, they are typically not considered outright fraudulent or illegal:
Separate billing allowed – Laws do enable third-party medical suppliers to bill patients directly even if providers were paid initially.
Advanced notice not required – Breg is not legally required to disclose billing practices upfront to patients before distributing products.
Price markups standard – Large markups on medical devices are common practice with insurance billing and contractual rates.
Collections normal – Sending unpaid bills to collections is standard procedure in healthcare and medical billing.
So in summary, while the Breg Billing Department’s billing methods feel underhanded, they generally fall within the boundaries of healthcare billing law and standard practices. Patients are still responsible for paying the bills.
However, there are some cases where Breg may cross legal lines, which we’ll outline next.
When could the billing potentially be fraudulent?
There are certain situations where consumer advocates would argue the Breg Billing Department is violating certain billing laws or guidelines:
- Not providing any billing notice before sending to collections
- Billing patients instead of insurance without proper notification
- Knowingly overcharging beyond reasonable insurance rates
- Attempting to collect on bills after the legal limitations period
While rare, any cases where Breg bills reach these extremes could be challenged as fraudulent or illegal practices.
Tips on Dealing With Breg Billing Department Bills
Now that we’ve fully analyzed the Breg Billing Department’s billing tactics, here is some advice on how to handle any bills you receive:
Verify any bills are legitimate
First, confirm any surprising bills are actually from the legitimate Breg company by calling them directly or looking up their official contact info. There are some medical billing scams impersonating real companies.
Check for insurance records
Your insurance company should have a record of the claim if Breg submitted it properly to them first. If there’s no claim record, you can argue Breg must bill insurance before charging you.
Negotiate unreasonable prices
Don’t be afraid to push back on excessive price markup. Research retail prices for braces or devices to counter their inflated charges.
Utilize billing protection laws
Check billing timeframe limits and dispute bills sent to collections without proper notice. Bills over 1 year old could be invalid.
Submit billing complaints to organizations like the Better Business Bureau to create a paper trail of improper billing practices.
Know your rights
Understand laws around third-party medical billing practices so you can identify any violations of required procedures.
With the right approach, you can potentially negotiate Breg bills down to reasonable prices or even avoid responsibility for bills that were unlawfully sent.
Common Breg Billing Department Questions
We’ll wrap up by answering some frequent questions people have about puzzling bills from the Breg Billing Department:
How can I get billed months later for a brace received at a doctor’s appointment?
It is legal for device suppliers like Breg to bill separately from healthcare providers at a later date, even months after your visit. This third-party billing practice is allowed but frustration over surprise bills is understandable.
Do I have to pay Breg bills if I have insurance?
Typically yes, if Breg submitted the claim properly to insurance first and your insurer processed some of the costs towards your deductible or copays. However, there is more room to negotiate pricing if Breg seems to bill patients directly.
Are Breg’s prices fair compared to the product value?
Often no, their bill pricing involves huge markups over the manufacturing costs and retail prices for braces and devices. However, inflated pricing is standard with how the healthcare industry operates.
Can I get a refund for a Breg product I didn’t even want?
Unfortunately not. Once you receive a Breg device from a healthcare provider, you are considered liable for the billing costs. Hopefully the tips above can help reduce the pricing.
What recourse do I have if I think their billing is fraudulent?
You can file complaints with the BBB, FTC, and state insurance commissioners to bring light to improper billing practices. You also have grounds to dispute any bills you believe were sent illegally.
Hopefully this guide provided useful insights into dealing with the controversial Breg Billing Department. While their billing tactics can be frustrating, being an informed advocate for yourself can help greatly reduce the costs. Don’t hesitate to use your rights to fight back against unreasonable bills.
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