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Do Medical bills affect your Credit?

Do Medical bills affect your Credit

Taking care of your medical bills is important even when you are insured. Medical bills affect your credit but there are particular rules for it and you get time to manage those debts. It helps you to manage your bills and improve your credit score. According to recent estimates, the number of people who carry smaller medical debts is in the millions. 

Every person needs medical care in different situations to stay healthy but he/she needs to pay medical bills on time otherwise it can affect credit. However, this debt only applies after a period of time. There are some rules to pay back debt and after a certain period, if the debt is still unpaid, then it can affect your credit. We will discuss in detail how do medical bills affect your credit. 

From March 31, 2023 onwards, credit reporting agencies will not mention any debt on your credit report that is less than $500. Therefore, they will not affect your credit report. However, larger medical debts that are unpaid even after one year can decrease your credit score. There are still a number of ways to avoid low credit scores as you will see in the next paragraphs. Moreover, you will also learn how medical debt affects your credit.

Clear the Bills Before 365 Days:

There is a difference between medical debts and other debts. If medical debts are unpaid, they are managed differently from other consumer debts. Most of the practitioners don’t report these debts to credit bureaus, they usually hire a medical billing company to manage their billing. It depends on your physician whether they report it or not. 

If the bills are unpaid even after 60, 90, or 120 days, then they are sent to a collection agency. Therefore, it is recommended to take care of your bills and pay them on time. If you are unable to pay them immediately, you can plan to pay them in the next couple of months but try to clear it before 365 days to keep your credit score healthy. If the debts exceed $500 and it remains unpaid even after 365 days, then it will appear on your credit report. 

As medical bills are a unique type of debt, credit bureaus provide you a time period to pay your bills. When your health insurance pays, it also takes time to clear that bill when your insurance company approves and issues payment to the healthcare provider. A minor billing or coding error can slow the payment process even further. The 365-day period lets you correct errors and send it to the insurance company to clear the bill. You can also set up a payment plan if necessary.

What happens if you ignore a medical bill?

Unpaid medical bills may take a long time to appear on your credit report. It doesn’t mean you should ignore a medical bill. Once it appears on your credit score, the damage can be long-lasting. The amounts over $500 appear on your credit report for seven years and if they are paid, they will be removed from your report.

Do medical bills get removed from my credit report?

Mistakes may happen at the end of medical billers and insurance companies and criminals may steal your identity to get medical care. If you have medical collections that are appearing on your credit score fraudulently, you have the right to contact the credit bureaus to resolve this matter. You may contact the collection agency and the medical provider and if the dispute is settled in your favor, the debt will be removed from your credit report.

There are no charges for filing these disputes and you can file them separately with each bureau that lists the incorrect information.

Can paying off medical debts improve credit?

It is always best to pay off medical debts as it can improve your credit scores. If you have unpaid medical debt exceeding $500, it can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. However, once you pay the debt, the credit bureaus will be notified, and the account will be removed from your credit reports. This has a positive impact on your credit.

How to manage medical debt?

There are various methods to manage medical debts. Contact your practitioner and request to reduce the bill or offer a payment plan that you can easily manage. 

Another way is to take a personal loan to cover a medical bill. Upstart and Upgrade are two companies that offer loans. Understand their terms and conditions and if they suits you, you can use this way to manage your debt. 

Can you check for medical debt on your credit report?

Yes, you can check for medical debt on your credit report. If you want to know your medical debt, get a copy of your credit report from a credit bureau as by law you can get it once a year from each bureau. 

Spot an inaccurate medical debt on your report? Don’t hesitate to dispute it! Filing a dispute can help remove the debt and improve your credit score.

How to discuss a medical bill on your reports?

Below is the detail to discuss medical collections on your credit reports. 

  • Get the Proof: Keep all your documents that prove your paid bills. Get the record from your doctor’s office. Find old credit card statements. 
  • Submit your dispute: Submit your dispute with the credit bureau and check your reports showing the error. 

Communication is the key: 

Don’t let credit report errors go unaddressed! Proactively follow up with the credit reporting companies involved. Check-in regularly for updates on the status of your dispute.

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