Effective July 1, millions of Americans will have their medical debt removed from their credit reports.
The changes mean that all medical collection debts paid in full by the consumer will no longer be included in US consumer credit reports.
In addition, the three companies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have decided to extend the collection period from six months to one year.
This includes all unpaid medical debt in collections that have been on credit reports for less than a year.
Typically, this debt can remain on your record for seven years.
This will give consumers ample time to work with insurance and/or healthcare providers to pay off their debt before it is reported on their credit file.
Mark W. Begor, managing director of Equifax; Brian Cassin, CEO of Experian; and Chris Cartwright, executive director of TransUnion, said: “Unexpected expenses, such as the cost of an unscheduled doctor’s visit, can be a hardship for many families.”
“These changes will realign our approach to reporting medical debt collections to help consumers focus on their personal well-being,” they added.
Who will be affected?
Effective immediately, millions of Americans will benefit from these changes.
As mentioned above, the list includes:
- Any medical collection debt that has been paid in full will no longer appear on your credit report
- The length of time before unpaid collection debts appear on your report will increase from six months to a year
- In the first half of 2023, medical debt below $500 will no longer appear on credit reports
Earlier this year, the companies said in a joint statement that these changes will effectively remove 70% of consumers’ medical debt information from their credit reports.
This comes as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) asked companies to change their reporting more than two years after the pandemic began.
The CFPB reports that Americans have between $81 billion and $140 billion in medical debt.
The CFPB also revealed that medical collections were found in 43 million credit reports.
A study by the US Census Bureau found that 19% of households cannot pay their medical bills.
Additionally, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly one in 10 Americans, about 23 million people, faces medical debt starting at $250.
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