Big Changes to the Way Credit Agencies Report Medical Debt

With over half of the debt that appears on American credit reports relating to healthcare expenses, CNN reports that some of the largest credit agencies have recently announced plans to help ease the financial burden of medical debt:

Starting September 15, the three major credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — will set a 180-day waiting period before including medical debt on a consumer’s credit report. The six-month period is intended to ensure there’s enough time to resolve disputes with insurers and delays in payment.

The move to delay credit penalties for those struggling with medical bills came from a joint effort between states:

The changes grew out of two efforts by states to aid consumers: a 2015 settlement negotiated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the three credit reporting agencies and an agreement shortly afterward between the agencies and 31 state attorneys general. The changes will be instituted nationwide.

The push by state attorney generals also will remove credit card debt from consumers credit reports after they are paid off.  With the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, this effort to lighten the blow of unpaid bills on patients credit history may help thousands of patients.