Do medical bills affect your credit score?

Medical providers generally don't submit reports to credit bureaus. However, they could hand over unpaid medical debts to collection agencies and this could affect credit ratings. Obviously, medical care is an important part of staying healthy, but expensive medical bills can cause your bank account to suffer. Get the basics you need to stay on top of your credit, such as access to an agency's credit rating, blocking credit reports from Equifax, and alerts.

And the length of time before unpaid medical collection debt appears on your credit reports increases from 6 months to 1 year. If you have medical charges on your credit report that aren't accurate or are the result of fraud, you can challenge them with the credit bureaus. If you have to deal with increasing medical expenses, there are a few things you can consider to help avoid piling up debt due to medical bills. You may be entitled to additional free credit reports under certain circumstances, such as after placing a fraud alert, becoming unemployed or receiving public assistance, or after having been denied credit or insurance within the past 60 days.

Unpaid medical bills can remain on your credit report for seven years after your late payment, however, once paid, they will be removed from your report. Checking your credit report regularly will help you detect any medical debt that has been collected or any fraudulent use of your credit. If your medical bills are overwhelming, you can seek help from a medical billing promoter or financial help from a charitable or government program (we'll talk about this later). Before this joint measure, if a healthcare provider returned your overdue bill to a collection agency because you hadn't paid the amount due, the collection agency could report that information to the credit bureaus after a period of 180 days (six months).

Even if you have health insurance and the bill is for a covered expense, you may have to wait months for your insurance company to approve and issue the payment to the healthcare provider. Unpaid medical bills can take a long time to show up on your credit report, but the damage to your credit score can last a long time once they do. If you think a bill was sent to the collections unfairly or prematurely, ask the medical provider to return it so you can pay it directly. Sometimes, a medical bill you never received, or even one you've already paid, comes into receipts.

Four out of 10 Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance had trouble paying medical bills last year, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation. The three major credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion treat medical debt differently than other types of delinquent accounts, and consumers have greater protection against credit-draining healthcare bills.

Alison Valentine
Alison Valentine

Friendly bacon nerd. Lifelong twitter lover. Amateur music advocate. Unapologetic musicaholic. Total twitter practitioner.

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