The three major credit reporting agencies will change the way they view and report your medical debt.
PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Three major credit reporting agencies have decided to remove most medical debt from credit reports.
“That could add 100 points to someone’s credit score,” said Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at Bankrate.com.
Starting in July, millions of Americans could see changes to their credit reports. This is when Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will remove most medical debt from their reporting process.
TransUnion said in a statement that this change will remove nearly 70% of medical collection debt.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 43 million Americans owe $88 billion in medical debt, with the average debt being less than $500.
“Maybe it was literally a one-time life or death crisis, it’s apples to oranges when it comes to other credit obligations, which is part of why they’re making this change,” said Rossman. “I don’t think medical debt is as predictive of your risk as a borrower or something else, like paying your car loan on time or your mortgage. Something like that.”
Currently, even paid bills that have been cashed can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Come this summer, those bills that have been paid will be removed. Additionally, any unpaid collections that have been open for less than a year will also be deleted.
Then in 2023, any medical payment under $500 will disappear from your report.
Some in the health care industry worry that it could hurt small medical practices if people think those bills don’t matter anymore, but they don’t.
“It changes how it shows up on your credit report, it doesn’t make the debt go away, unfortunately,” Rossman said. “So you have to pay it back.”
A medical debt over $500 that has been in collection for over a year will always have an impact on your credit.
Something to keep in mind, if you start paying off medical debt using a credit card, it becomes credit card debt, not medical debt. It will hurt your score if you don’t pay.
If you haven’t done so recently, you should check your credit report at least once a year.
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