Medical Bills? Your Credit Score Could Take a Whack
Health providers are using collection agencies more aggressively
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2012 4:12 PM CDT
Updated May 5, 2012 4:41 PM CDT
Unpaid medical bills are increasingly likely to stain your credit score.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – That unpaid medical bill your insurance company promises to cover for you? Watch out, because even small medical bills are more likely to damage your credit score these days, the New York Times reports. A Texas man was surprised to find that an unpaid $200 ambulance bill (for his son's bike accident) knocked 100 points off his credit score, even though his insurance company had told him not to worry. “It wasn’t like I ignored it,” he said.

The problem: Health providers are turning to collection agencies more quickly, because medical bills are paying a greater percentage of providers' revenue. Patient advocates say that's unfair, as patients are covering a higher share of costs and medical bill paying is growing more complex. The Senate is even considering a bill to erase paid medical debts from credit reports. But credit agencies are crying foul, saying that "would severely undermine the integrity of a credit report and the resultant credit score. That is why it is called a history.”

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Showing 3 of 14 comments
May 7, 2012 1:21 PM CDT
If enough people in this country would tell the credit report agencies and the banks to take a hike and file bankruptcy may be this financial industry would back off and give people a break.
May 6, 2012 3:15 PM CDT
Medical bills are fundamentally not a consumer credit transaction and should not be included in a credit history, period.
May 6, 2012 5:53 AM CDT
The simple solution is to arrange a payment plan and stick to it. I know of several doctors that will make arrangements like that, and it keeps you from being sent to collections