It’s Now Harder for Medical Bills to Destroy Your Credit

The three big credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion — recently announced changes in the way they report medical debt and how they respond to consumer complaints about errors, Money  reports.

The changes came from a settlement with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been investigating the credit bureaus since 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, the new practices, which will phase in starting in the next six months, will apply nationwide.

Here’s why it’s important:

Medical bills are notoriously unintelligible and riddled with errors. To make it worse, debt collectors will sometimes “park” medical debt on your credit report before you even get the bill from your doctor. In the end, your insurer may pick up the tab—but only after the medical debt has already damaged your credit.

Put another way, if you haven’t checked your credit report recently, you could be one of the 43 million Americans with medical debt on your report—and you might not even know it.