If you’ve run into financial problems because of unexpected medical expenses, you’re not alone. Studies show that more the 40 million Americans are experiencing money problems because of substantial medical bills. It’s the most common cause of personal bankruptcy filings. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 20% of all credit reports include unpaid medical bills.
Unfortunately, there are many ways that the billing of medical expenses can have a detrimental impact on your credit score. For example, it’s fairly common for a medical service provider to bill you and bill your insurance company at the same time. You may assume that your insurance company will automatically pay, so you don’t. You may even receive additional notices from the medical service provider, but still expect that it will be paid for by insurance. However, the medical service provider may notify the credit reporting agency after a couple months. You can then be surprised to discover a medical bill on your credit report.
In a lawsuit recently, the settlement imposed new restrictions on the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—that will benefit consumers. The new requirements include:
- The major credit reporting agencies cannot add medical bills to your credit report until the debt is more than 180 days old
- Any medical bills included on your credit report must be immediately removed if they are paid by your insurance
You can also be proactive. Question any charges that you think are excessive. If your medical insurer has denied coverage, file an appeal. Finally, reach out to the medical provider and try to negotiate a lower price, or a reasonable payment plan before the bill goes to collections. The provider may be willing to accept lower payment if they do not have to pay a debt collector.
Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP
At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, weprovide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up a meeting, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.
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