Even a Small Amount of Medical Debt Can Trigger Headaches

From the Associated Press:

Researchers found in a study of credit reports that more than 2 percent of adults had medical bills under $200 sent to a collections agency. Over half of the annual medical collections were for less than $600, according to the study, which examined 2016 credit reports for more than 4 million unidentified people.

“A lot of these bills are much more modest than many people will think,” said one of the researchers, Benedic Ippolito, an economist with the think tank American Enterprise Institute.

Hospitals or other care providers will send a bill to collections when the patient hasn’t paid over a certain amount of time, often six to 12 months. That can hurt the patient’s credit rating and lead to repeat phone calls from the agency that takes over the unpaid debt, according to debt experts.

The study, published recently in the journal Health Affairs, also found that trouble with medical debt can hit sooner than patients might think.

Read the whole article for a deeper look inside the issue.

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