Court Ruling Helps Debtors with Medical Bills

Medical bill with calculator

If you’ve incurred significant medical bills and it’s led you to consider or file for protection under the bankruptcy laws, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted by Harvard University, nearly two-thirds of people who filed for personal bankruptcy cited medical bills as a factor in their financial challenges. It’s estimated that as many as 40 million Americans are struggling to pay accumulated medical bills, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says that one in five credit reports show past due medical bills.

Though the astronomical cost of most medical services can make them impossible to pay, it’s not uncommon for unpaid medical bills to hit your credit record without your knowledge. For example, it’s typical for a hospital, urgent care or doctor’s office to send a bill to you and your insurer simultaneously. You may expect your insurance company to either pay or notify you in a timely manner that there’s no coverage, but that doesn’t always happen. You may even receive an additional notice or two, but reasonably believe that your insurer is handling everything. It can often come as a surprise, then, when you discover that the unpaid bill has appeared on your credit record.

A settlement in a recent lawsuit has established new requirements for the top three credit reporting companies—Experian, Equifax and TransUnion—that will help consumers with medical debts. Under the agreement, the three credit reporting agencies:

    Cannot add a medical bill to your credit report that is less than 180 days past due

    Must remove any medical bills from your credit report if they are paid by insurance at any time

Contact Heath, TX Bankruptcy Attorney Carrie Weir

I offer a free initial consultation to all potential bankruptcy clients. Contact my office by e-mail or call me at 972-772-3083 for a private meeting. With offices in Rockwall, Texas, I represent clients in Heath, Greenville, Lavon, Wylie, Mesquite and Rowlett.

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