Changes To Credit Reporting Will Help Those With Medical Debt
On top of everything else that you have to worry about, is the problem of your medical bills. Yes, you have insurance that will pay for some of your medical bills, but there are still deductibles, copays, or other amounts that aren’t covered. Maybe you are confident your doctors will wait until your case resolves, so that you can use your settlement money to pay what you owe to your doctors. But what happens to your credit in the meantime?
Accidents and Your Credit
If you have amounts that you owe to your treating doctors that are related to injuries you sustained in your accident, many doctors will hold your balance to the end of your case. But often doctors will refer your accounts to collections. That can ruin your credit.
A good and proactive personal injury attorney can work with your doctors, to keep those bills out of collections, thus preserving your credit. In fact, with your approval, many doctors will agree to wait until your case is over to be paid, so long as you agree to pay what is owed from your settlement or verdict.
Medical Debt is Different
In many ways, debt incurred because of medical expenses is different from other kinds of debt. That’s because unlike other kinds of debt, like when you go shopping, medical debt is not something that is incurred voluntarily. Most people not only don’t want medical debt, they would prefer not to even go to the doctor.
You also can’t control when you get sick, or when you are in an accident. That means that not being able to pay a medical debt isn’t a sign of irresponsibility. It’s simply a result of something unfortunate happening to you, out of your control.
But you may have another weapon to protect your credit: The credit reporting agencies (CRAs) have recently announced that they will refrain from reporting medical debt to credit accounts.
Changes to How Medical Debt is Reported
The first change is that when medical debt is paid, it will immediately come off your credit. So, even if a debt has been reported, once you receive a settlement or a verdict, and you pay off the debt, the debt should be erased from your credit. This is retroactive, meaning that in the past, if you had medical debt on your credit, and paid it off, it will be removed, even if all that happened before this recent reporting change.
Even better is that delinquent or late accounts, or any debts related to medical expenses, won’t even be allowed to be reported to your credit for an entire year. Although not all personal injury cases resolve within a year, some do, and that means there won’t even be a chance of medical expenses affecting your credit.
Medical debts that are under $500, won’t even be reported at all.