Medical collections debt often arises from unforeseen medical circumstances that are beyond one’s control. It can be volatile and unpredictable and can negatively affect many financially secure consumers. Medical debt has damaged the credit reports of tens of millions of consumers for far too long.
Unlike other costs, medical bills frequently come as a surprise, plunging families into a perilous financial situation. The situation gets worse when these bills go unpaid and then are reported to credit agencies resulting in damage to consumer credit ratings, which are becoming more and more crucial for acquiring jobs, housing, and other financial goods.
Medical debt is an unanticipated expense and does not accurately represent a person's willingness or ability to repay a loan.
Keeping in mind all of these detrimental effects of medical debts on consumers, the three main credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, jointly announced changes to the medical collection debt reporting to help people across the U.S. focus on their financial and personal well-being.
The announcement comes in response to research by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showing that as of June 2021, Americans have accumulated $88 billion in medical debt on consumer credit records. According to the bureau, it's the most common debt collection on credit reports.
Here’s How the Credit Agencies Have Changed Medical Debt Reporting;
The three major credit agencies said that by July 1, 2022, over 70% of paid medical debt, which has the potential to lower people's credit ratings, will be taken off consumer credit reports.
Additionally, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion also announced that they would increase the amount of time from six months to one year before unpaid medical collection debt would be reported on a consumer's credit file. The extra time can provide customers the chance to negotiate a payment plan or resolve any disagreements with their healthcare provider before the debt appears on their credit report.
Further, the bureaus will stop including medical collection debt under $500 on credit reports starting in the first half of 2023.