SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The high cost of healthcare in the U.S. had created financial struggles for many families. Even small unpaid medical bills can have a big impact on credit scores.
ABC4 spoke with Leslie H. Tayne, a consumer finance expert and financial attorney who specializes in debt relief and debt settlement, about changes in the way medical debt influences personal credit scores.
Tayne reports that as of July 1, 2022, cleared medical debt will be removed from credit reports by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
Formerly, delinquent medical debt that has subsequently been paid could still negatively affect a person’s credit score. This is set to change, and Tayne indicates this can mitigate the damage to Americans’ credit scores from nearly $88 billion dollars of medical debt that currently exists in the U.S.
To benefit from this change, debtors should clear all their medical debt before July 1. If they do so, this past debt will no longer be counted against their credit.
This change will not result in debt forgiveness or medical debt having no impact on credit score, it but can still benefit many debtors with low credit scores and cleared medical debt.
Furthermore, Tayne tells ABC4 that in early 2023, “Medical collection debt under $500 will stop appearing on credit reports entirely.” She mentions that small copays of $50-$100 frequently go unpaid, negatively affecting peoples’ credit scores.
This upcoming change will only allow significant unpaid medical debt to harm a person’s credit moving forward.
Finally, Tayne advises readers to “always review their credit report on a regular basis” and to stay organized financially. She says to stay aware of medical bills and to contact health insurance companies frequently to clarify information coverage and bills.
“Always question a bill,” concludes Tayne.