Disputing Negative Medical Credit Reports

 

Disputing Negative Medical Credit Reports

English: SAN DIEGO (March 7, 2011) Nurse pract...

English: SAN DIEGO (March 7, 2011) Nurse practitioner Tiffany Holm performs a routine physical on Willie Benjamin at the Tricare Outpatient Clinic-Clairemont Mesa operated by Naval Medical Center San Diego. Twelve health care providers treat more than 3,000 active duty service members, retirees and beneficiaries at the clinic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chelsea A. Blom/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medical bills constitute nearly half of all collection activities for unpaid bills according to the Federal Reserve Board! That is truly unbelievable. Disputing negative medical credit reports deserves a special look as we explore creative and unique techniques to repair and enhance our credit scores.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been studying this complex problem since 2012 but what do we do while we wait for them?  What about the out of network charge for the doctor you know is in network?  Lab bills for tests that may or may not have been ordered?  How long do I wait for large charges the insurance company hasn’t decided on?  There seem to be no standards for what gets reported to credit reporting agencies.  Many doctors now work for large professionally managed groups that no longer readily waive questionable fees that creep in.

FICO 9 will no longer punish consumers for paid medical bills.  It will take a while for the new FICO 9 system to become widely adopted.  For those who use this system unpaid medical bills will count for a lot less and paid medical bills not at all!

Punished for Being ILL

The aftermath of a medical condition can haunt the recovery of the debtor financially far beyond the period of physical recovery.  First contest the accuracy and verifiability of the bill in the usual way if you feel that is justified.  If you are satisfied that you owe it and it is verifiable you can try and settle it directly with the creditor or collection agent in exchange for deletion.  So far we are disputing negative medical credit reports the same way we dispute any other negative entry.

Pay for Deletion

As with any other entry always insist on a written promise of deletion as a condition of payment.  If the collector insists he can’t do this (he can) offer an out by insisting on a settlement agreement with language substantially as follows:  “This payment is made in settlement of a disputed claim and is not an admission of liability.  As a condition of settlement the alleged debtor and its agents agree not to object to my filing of a dispute of this entry with the Credit Reporting Agency.”  They still won’t cooperate?

Remember the HIPAA Provision

If you don’t receive cooperation threaten to file an action under a HIPPA violation.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, Title II  has now become HIPPA/HITECH/OMNIBUS Rule.  It has 20,000 pages!   Interpretation of this law is giving health care providers and bill collectors fits.  It has very serious penalties for violations.  The law provides policies procedures and guidelines for monitoring the privacy and security of individually identifiable health information.  Private information must be rendered unusable, unreadable and indecipherable.  Health Care providers may provide only certain information to collectors:

  • Name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Payment and Account history and number
  • Name and address of the one claiming the debt

You’re starting to see where this is going aren’t you? Disputing negative medical credit reports has a special twist all its own.   Raising the specter of a dangerous, expensive and time consuming wrestling match with federal laws is enough to soften anyone’s resistance to being reasonable.  There is no national law providing standards for disputing medical bills.  It’s the Wild West.  How can they verify without revealing more than they’re allowed? FACTA requires that the names of providers must be masked if they would disclose the type of condition for which the patient/debtor was treated.  Debt collectors will do whatever it takes to avoid going down this slippery slope.  Play Monty Hall and say “Let’s make a Deal”

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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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