I was just reading Princess' Sam Goody story and since I'm going through something similiar that might affect some of you as well, I thought to throw in my usual two cents worth.
I recently had a sleep study. Yep. Sleep Apnea. Really bad sleep apnea. The doctor sent me to a durable medical supplies company here in town for a CPAP machine. I asked them if they were in my insurance network and gave them my insurance card. They came back during the CPAP training and said, "Yes, we're in your network."
They weren't. How do I know? I was billed by this company as an out of network provider and was being billed for a) out of network deductible, b) balance billing on the entire outstanding balance $652.46.
I went through the roof.
To make a long story miserable, I took the machine back. The business owner said, "I still expect payment of the balance." I said, "Tell you what, you shit in your left hand, and hope I'm gonna pay you in your right hand and see which gets full first." And waltzed out.
Made call to the business manager of the pulmonary practice that sent me to this company and told them what had happened. They said, "No way we're going to sit by and watch them try to force you to pay this. You forget about it. I'll call that company tomorrow. We send them lots of business and we'll make it clear we don't appreciate the scam they tried to run on you. This is the second time they've done this in two weeks."
Point is, many people won't fight something like this. You should. No matter how much some company makes you feel like it's your responsibility (like my insurance carrier tried to do in this case), nothing beats intra-business politics and pressure.
And the practice sent me to a different company that IS in my network.
The issue here is the same as dealing with the JW elders: You can't be walked on if you refuse to lay down first. Don't take it. Fight back. Shoot first. Ask questions later.