Due, in large part, to the ever growing costs of medical treatment and care, many in Oregon, and throughout the U.S., are dealing with medical debt. According to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report, about one out of every five credit reports has at least one medical collection debt listed. In some cases, however, this reported medical debt may be a mistake. In order to cut down on the erroneous reporting of medical debts, the three major credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – have agreed to change how they report medical debt.
In the past, medical debts were reported in much the same way as other debts. As such, some debts were reported before people even received the bills from their health care providers or facilities. In other cases, medical debts that should have been covered by insurance were reported by credit reporting agencies. This often resulted from charge and benefit coverage disputes, which led to delayed payments by insurers.
Under the credit bureaus’ new policies, there will be a 180-day waiting period before medical debts are added to credit reports, according to Money.com. Furthermore, as soon as an insurance company pays a debt, it will be removed from a person’s credit reports. Trained employees will also be assigned by the credit bureaus to review and investigate complaints, even when the creditors report that the information is correct. The policy changes, which are a part of a settlement with the New York State Attorney General, will be phased in and implemented nationwide.
Medical debt, particularly when reported to the credit bureaus, can impact people’s future lending, employment, and home or apartment rental prospects. That is why it can be important for people to regain control of their finances and pay down medical debts, or fix reporting errors. Those who are facing these types of challenges may find it of benefit to consult with an attorney to discuss their options.