Jump to Navigation

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau May Look at Medical Debt Reporting

When you need to seek unexpected medical care, your attention should be focused on recovering physically and emotionally. However, financial concerns surrounding health care are playing a larger and larger role in the lives of patients.

In response, several Senators have written to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regarding the huge impact medical debt has on consumers. Specifically, the coalition asked the Bureau to address the ways that medical debt reporting can negatively affect patients' credit scores and, therefore, their ability to get credit. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a federal agency that educates consumers about financial products and services including mortgages and credit cards.

How Can Medical Debt Hurt Your Credit?

Medical debt poses a unique problem to credit reports because so many parties have a hand in medical costs. If you have health insurance, typically your health care provider bills your insurance carrier. Your insurer passes on any costs that it will not cover to you and you become responsible for taking care of the balance.

Unfortunately, care providers do not always know how long this takes or where in the process the bill is. Without insight into the communication between patients and insurers, sometimes medical providers forward their bills on to collections before patients even know they owe money.

"The issue of consumer debt is usually discussed in relation to a consumer's ability to pay, but for medical debt, the problem is one of information," said the Senators' letter. This flawed information can blemish the credit history of responsible consumers, making those reports less reliable. In some cases, a patient's credit score can drop up to 100 points: damage that can take up to seven years to disappear.

Excessive debt from medical bills, a mortgage or loss of income may lead many people to consider filing bankruptcy in order to put themselves back on better financial footing.

Source: Health Tech Zone, "Senators Want Medical Debt Reporting to be Part of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Steve Anderson, August 6, 2012.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Free Case Evaluation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close
Arag
Subscribe to this blog's feed FindLaw Network
Marrs & Terry | Personalized, Efficient Counsel | Office Locations

Ann Arbor Office
Marrs & Terry, PLLC
6553 Jackson Road
Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Phone: 734-418-0365
Toll Free: 866-665-8095
Fax: 734-663-9973
Ann Arbor Law Office Map

Jackson Office
Marrs & Terry, PLLC
209 E. Washington, Suite 258
Jackson, MI 49201

Phone: 734-418-0365
Toll Free: 866-665-8095
Jackson Law Office

Credit Cards Accepted | VISA | MasterCard | American Express