Credit Reporting Change May Take the Sting Out of Some Medical Debt
When you’re sick, you visit the doctor, but what happens when the bills roll in and it’s more than you can afford? Medical debt can affect anyone, even if you have great medical insurance. Many people find themselves struggling to pay their medical debt, which ultimately can impact their credit score.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) estimated that as of 2021, $88 billion in medical bills were represented on consumer credit reports and medical debt made up 57% of all collections on credit reports.
Recently, the three major credit bureaus made a change that could help those with smaller medical debt no longer feel the squeeze on their credit rating. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will no longer include medical collections of $500 or less on consumer credit reports.
Medical debt isn’t something to be ashamed of, but the reality is it can sometimes be challenging to make payments if unexpected emergencies arise. Things like insurance delays and billing errors can be frustrating, but this shouldn’t deter you from proper care. You also shouldn’t have to avoid receiving care because of the cost of medical attention.
We can help you look at your financial picture and keep your health needs in mind as you craft your financial strategy for retirement and beyond, to help ensure you’re prepared for whatever the future may hold.
1 John McNamara. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Feb. 14, 2023. “Debt collectors re-evaluate medical debt furnishing in light of data integrity issues.” https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/debt-collectors-reevaluate-medical-debt-furnishing-in-light-of-data-integrity-issues/. Accessed April 26, 2023.
2 Michelle Singletary. The Washington Post. April 12, 2023. “Finally, medical debt under $500 has been removed from credit-reports.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/04/12/medical-debt-credit-reports/. Accessed April 26, 2023.
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