Consumers are getting some good news when it comes to their credit scores. A new set of rules have taken effect this week that will make it more difficult for medical debt to damage your credit score, it will also not hurt your chances of qualifying for new credit.
The three credit reporting agencies now have to wait 180 days before putting an unpaid medical bill onto your credit report. Going back and forth with your insurance company over an outstanding medical bill? Unpaid medical bills that later get paid by your insurance must be removed from your credit report as well.
This new rule builds additional time between patients and insurance companies to resolve such matters. Up until this point, there was no grace period and medical debt could appear on your credit report as soon as it was reported as an unpaid debt. Medical offices tend to do this on their own schedule, sometimes as early as 30 days, while insurers may take longer to fully process claims.
The new waiting period carves out time for patients, their doctors, and insurers to work through legitimate grievances, and makes it harder for unpaid bills to hurt your credit score. It also allows much-needed time for those suffering from illness and injury to sort out who owes what.
Credit bureaus have taken steps to remove medical bill collections that are less than 180 days old. One out of five credit reports contain overdue medical debt, according to a 2014 report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That means 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt negatively affecting their credit.
If you are on a fixed income or struggling financially, letting the medical provider know you are not able to pay will give them a reason to offer you a discount or be placed on a reasonable payment plan. If you cannot pay, tell them why you cannot pay. Some states require hospitals provide free or reduced care to consumers within certain income limits. Florida is one of these states.
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Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.