STARTING July 1, millions of Americans will have their medical debt removed from their credit reports.
The changes state that any medical collection debt that’s been paid by the consumer in full will no longer be included on US consumer credit reports.
Additionally, the three companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, have also decided to increase the collection period from six months to one year.
This includes all unpaid medical debt in collections that have been on credit reports for under a year.
Typically, that debt can remain on your record for seven years.
This will offer consumers ample time to work with insurance and/or healthcare providers to address their debt before it’s reported on their credit file.
Mark W. Begor, chief executive of Equifax; Brian Cassin, chief executive of Experian; and Chris Cartwright, chief executive of TransUnion, said: “Unexpected expenses, such as the cost of an unplanned medical visit, can be a hardship for many families.”
“These changes will realign our approach to medical collection debt reporting in a manner that is designed to help consumers focus on their personal well-being,” they added.
Who will be impacted?
Effective immediately, millions of Americans will benefit from these changes.
As noted above, the list includes:
- All medical collection debt that has been paid in full will no longer be included on your credit report
- The time period before unpaid medical collection debt will appear on your report will rise from six months to one year
- In the first half of 2023, any medical debt under $500 will no longer appear on credit reports
Earlier this year, the companies said in a joint statement that these changes will effectively strip 70% of consumers’ medical debt information from their credit reports.
This comes as over two years into the pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been calling on companies to change the way they report.
The CFPB reports that Americans have anywhere between $81billion and $140billion of medical debt.
The CFPB also revealed that medical collections were found on 43million credit reports.
A study by the US Census Bureau found that 19% of households are unable to afford their medical bills.
Additionally, nearly 1 in 10 Americans roughly 23million people, are facing a medical debt starting at $250 according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
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