Victory: Medical debt to be scrubbed from consumers' credit reports

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Aaron Colonnese
Content Creator

Author: Aaron Colonnese

Content Creator

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Brown University

Aaron writes and designs materials with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network for U.S. PIRG. Aaron lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spends his spare time playing drums and going for long walks.

One in 5 American households report having medical debt. Now, new credit industry policies will help keep that debt from hurting their credit.

On March 18, the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) announced major changes in how they will treat the reporting of medical debt. Nearly 70% of medical debt in collections will ultimately be removed from credit reports. Paid medical debt will be erased from reports, and any new medical debt won’t be included until a year after the debt is given over to collection agencies.

PIRG Health Care Campaigns Director Patricia Kelmar, who helped lead the charge to pass the federal No Surprises Act protecting Americans from most surprise medical bills, said: “We've known for years that medical debt doesn’t predict credit defaults. After feeling the heat from the federal Consumer Bureau and its new director, Rohit Chopra, the credit bureaus appear to have finally seen the light."

"Ultimately, we need a fair credit system that doesn’t penalize people for life events they can’t control like getting sick."

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Photo: PIRG's Patricia Kelmar spoke with local and national news outlets throughout 2021 to help consumers exercise their rights under a new federal law that will help prevent many unfair surprise medical bills from reaching consumers in the first place. Credit: Washington Journal

Aaron Colonnese
Content Creator

Author: Aaron Colonnese

Content Creator

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Brown University

Aaron writes and designs materials with the Creative Team for The Public Interest Network for U.S. PIRG. Aaron lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, and spends his spare time playing drums and going for long walks.