How to Remove Medical Collections From Credit Report If you're lucky enough to have health insurance and a perfect credit score, then you may not be worried about medical bills. But a single unpaid medical bill can slash your free credit score by 100 points, potentially costing thousands of dollars in higher interest rates. Mark Rukavina, principal at Community Health Advisors and former executive director of the Access Project, points out that unlike general credit card debt or student loans, medical bills are "generally incurred after an illness or injury so it's not something that can be easily planned for." A routine surgical procedure can result in bills totaling thousands of dollars, while more intensive treatments can cost five or six figures. Further complicating the issue is the fact that "sometimes it's a little unclear how the cost of that care is going to be covered, whether insurance is covering the bill or if the patient is covering it," says Rukavina, adding that roughly half of bills in collection are medical-related. If you're unsure about whether to pay that $89 bill or if insurance will cover it, talk to your provider. "Don't ignore bills and don't expect them to go away," says Rukavina. "It's far less likely it will be sent to collections if you're communicating with the provider. The earlier, the better." If you work out an extended payment plan with your provider, get it in writing and make payments on time, he adds. Consumers who become sick or injured and can't pay their medical bills may find themselves facing multiple layers of insult and injury. Bad becomes worse when collection agencies hound by phone and mail and delinquent accounts stage an evil takeover of the consumer's credit report. In fact, most reported collection accounts – 52% – are medical. Fortunately, changes by the big three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) that went into effect this past spring make it easier for consumers to get medical debt and other types of inaccurate data off their credit reports. The changes are part of a broad policy overhaul involving the credit reporting industry and are the result of a settlement between the state of New York and the three credit reporting bureaus. New York State Attorney Eric Schneiderman began an investigation into the three bureaus' reporting policies in 2012 after several New York residents filed complaints stating that they were unable to correct errors on their credit reports. Although the lawsuit was filed on behalf of New York residents, the resulting settlement created new policies that affect consumers nationwide.
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