Is medical debt crippling your credit score?

Medical debt on credit reports

Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

Medical Debt on Credit Reports

My readers know that I am a fierce critic of the practice of putting medical debt on credit reports for many reasons.  It is my firm belief that this practice frequently impinges on privacy rights guaranteed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The act does permit the disclosure of the “minimum necessary” information required to pay legitimate bills, but providers are frequently very careless in limiting any scrutiny to the minimum necessary.

New Pressure to Exempt Medical Debt on Credit Reports

It is only a matter of time before a substantial challenge to any medical debt on credit reports is mounted by a smart, motivated lawyer with the right client and the right set of facts.

People of every income level suffer from the problem of medical debt on credit reports.  Medical debt on credit reports is more likely to be in dispute than most kinds of debt.  Medical debt on credit reports is atypical, of questionable value in predicting future payment performance, inconsistently reported and  non-predictive of future behavior.  Medical debt on credit reports are unlike other debts.

Confusing Medical Billing Process Complex

The entire medical billing process is complex and lacking in transparency.  Consumers walk out of their medical provider’s office without knowing what they owe or what the insurer owes.  If the insurance company decides certain tests were unnecessary, the consumer is stuck with the bill even though he relied on the doctor’s judgment in ordering these tests and his own potential liability was the last thing on his mind.  Large and small bills are often disputed by consumers.  In the last year for which statistics are available, 28 million working-age Americans were contacted by a collection agency for medical debt on credit reports.  Studies show that medical bills are the single largest cause of bankruptcy filings.

Insurance Companies Frequently Change their Mind

I recently received what is called a “Notice of a Revised Claim Determination” from my United Health Care provider.  It says “The original cost-sharing amount for the services provided was $70.00.  Upon review of these services all services remain payable, however there has been a change to your cost-sharing amount.  Your adjusted cost sharing amount is now $35.00.”  This was from a service they say I received over a year ago.  Did I pay the original $70.00?  Do they owe me $35.00?  Should I just pay it and get it over with because you just can’t win with these people?  Will medical debt on credit reports cripple my credit score if I don’t?  Actually credit reporting agencies ignore amounts under $100.00 but you get the picture.

Tide Has Turned.  NEW!!!

Paid medical debt must now be removed.  Medical debt will not now be reported until a 180 day waiting period to allow insurance companies to catch up with billing.


this issue is alive and well.  i am optimistic about this even though i am a natural pessimist when it comes to  matters such as medical debt on credit reports.
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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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