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