Credit Blog

Here you'll find my latest podcasts and new articles. And, as always, I am happy to answer your credit questions!

Dec 12, 2014

Medical Bills Ruin Millions of People's Credit

You may have seen the headlines this week highlighting a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau about medical debt and credit reports. Among the findings:

- Half of all overdue debt on credit reports is from medical debt;

- One out of five credit reports contains overdue medical debt;

- 15 million consumers have only medical debt on their credit reports;

- Average reported medical debt is $579

I am thankful the CFPB is bringing this issue to the forefront, and can only add that it’s about time. Their findings were not surprising to me and many of my colleagues who have been writing about this issue for years. It’s not surprising to Rodney Anderson, a Texas mortgage broker who has been spearheading an effort in Congress to change the law regarding medical bills on credit reports. It’s not a surprise to Mark Rukavina or Jeanne Pinder, policy experts who are championing transparency in medical billing.

I have interviewed all of these experts previously on Talk Credit Radio and you will find their interviews on my medical debt podcast page linked to below.

You may also want to read this op-ed I wrote last year calling for a Fair Medical Billing Act, similar to the Fair Credit Billing Act that protects consumers in the case of unfair medical billing practices. The truth of the matter is that we currently have more rights when it comes to disputing a $10 credit card charge than we do when it comes to a $1000 medical bill.

I can’t emphasize how important this issue is to consumer’s ability to build and maintain strong credit rating. As it stands right now, one medical bill snafu can drop your credit score by 50, 75, 100 points or more.

I encourage you to listen to the podcasts on this topic and if this issue has affected you - or alarms you - contact your elected officials in Washington.

Continue reading "Medical Bills Ruin Millions of People's Credit"

Sep 28, 2014

Involunatarily Hospitalized: Do I Have to Pay?

John was recently hospitalized against his will, after he vented to a suicide hotline that put them on hold indefinitely. As a result, he is facing $2000 bill. He shared his story recently with me for the Credit.com blog. The story also ran on Yahoo! where there were over 1000 comments in just a few hours!

While John's story may seem unique, I've heard many complaints from people who have received what they believed to be unnecessary medical tests or treatment, sometimes against their protests. When they try to fight it, the bill may be sent to collections and their credit reports are damaged for seven years.

What do you think? Should John have to pay this bill? Have you been billed for medical services you believe were unwarranted? I'd love to hear your comments!

Continue reading "Involunatarily Hospitalized: Do I Have to Pay?"

Feb 13, 2014

How to Get Maximum Reward Points

My guest Brian Kelly caught the rewards points bug when he was only 13 years old and help a family trip to the Grand Cayman Islands using mostly reward

Continue reading "How to Get Maximum Reward Points"

Jan 22, 2014

Do I Have to Pay My Child’s Medical Debt If I Didn't Sign For It?

A listener wants to know if he is responsible for his child's medical bills even though he never signed anything taking legal responsibility for those

Continue reading "Do I Have to Pay My Child’s Medical Debt If I Didn't Sign For It? "

Jan 16, 2014

Soldier of Finance

Soldier of Finance is one of my favorite books of 2013 and here I talk with the author, Jeff Rose, who shares some of his advice and experiences that helped

Continue reading "Soldier of Finance"

Jan 08, 2014

Big Coupon Savings With The CVS Drugstore Game

My guest Amanda Grossman got $2800 in free products at CVS over four years. That's about $700 in free stuff every year! In this interview she teaches you

Continue reading "Big Coupon Savings With The CVS Drugstore Game"

Jan 06, 2014

Confessions of a Credit Junkie

She’s a credit card expert and well-known financial journalist now, but years ago, Beverly Harzog was in credit card trouble. She had maxxed out seven

Continue reading "Confessions of a Credit Junkie"

Jan 06, 2014

DIY Credit Repair

Have you thought about hiring a credit repair company? Or are you trying to figure out if you can do it yourself? In this podcast, I explain what credit

Continue reading "DIY Credit Repair"

Jan 05, 2014

How to Afford to Go Back To College

College is hard enough, but what about when you are an adult trying to juggle a job or family while you try to get your degree? Joining me to explain

Continue reading "How to Afford to Go Back To College"

Dec 19, 2013

An Easy Way to Save

As Americans, we aren't doing a great job saving money. 40% of Americans haven't saved anything and only 55% have more in savings than in credit card debt.

Continue reading "An Easy Way to Save"

Dec 16, 2013

How to Save $1000 a Month

Brian O'Connor had a mission: to see if he could cut $1000 a month from his family's spending without sacrificing the essentials. But it wasn't enough

Continue reading "How to Save $1000 a Month"

Dec 12, 2013

Balance Transfer Offers Are Back

Looking to consolidate your debt or lower your interest rates with a credit card balance transfer? CardRatings.com's Curtis Arnold shares the latest deals

Continue reading "Balance Transfer Offers Are Back"

Dec 12, 2013

Free Credit Card Benefits and More

Are you missing out on freebies on your credit card? In this episode I describe some great credit card perks you want to make sure you take advantage of.

Continue reading "Free Credit Card Benefits and More"

Dec 12, 2013

Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit

Trying to get your credit back on track? Beverly Harzog joins me to share her picks for the best credit cards for rebuilding credit - including cards for

Continue reading "Credit Cards to Rebuild Credit"

Dec 12, 2013

FHA Loan MIP Changes

FHA loans can be great if you need a low down payment mortgage or if your credit isn't so hot. But they are going to get more expensive. Find out what's

Continue reading "FHA Loan MIP Changes"