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Medical Bills and Credit

Updated: Sep 23, 2014

Highlights

  • Some medical providers report patient information to the credit bureaus.
  • Other medical providers have a policy of not reporting to the credit bureaus.
  • Negotiate a settlement to resolve medical debts.
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Do Medical Debts Appear on a Credit Report?

Some medical providers report patient credit activity to the consumer credit reporting agencies (CRAs). Others do not. There is no requirement that creditors must report their customers’ account activities to the CRAs. However, if they do make reports about a consumer, federal law requires that all reports contain accurate information.

If your medical providers report your payments to the CRAs, then these reports will impact your credit score — for good or ill. Payment history is the largest factor that goes into calculating a consumer’s credit score.

The largest credit scoring company is Fair Isaac & Co., creator of the FICO score. FICO scores are calculated based on five variables, including:

  • Payment history (any late payments, charge-offs, etc.)
  • Amount and type of debt owed
  • Any maxed-out trade lines
  • Length of credit history
  • Number of recent credit applications

Paying off delinquent or maxed out accounts will almost always improve a consumer’s credit score.

To learn more about what goes into your credit score, read the Bills.com FICO score calculation article.

Quick Tip

The Bills.com Debt Coach offers non-nonsense information about your debt relief options, and will give you the pros, cons, and costs for each.

No-Cost Credit Reports

By law, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three credit bureaus. The AnnualCreditReport.com no-cost credit report does not come with a credit score. When requesting a no-cost report from AnnualCreditReport.com, it makes sense to pull one bureau every four months, so you can review your credit report at no cost three times a year.

You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you were denied credit. However, you can only request a copy from the specific credit bureau that supplied the credit report to the creditor who denied you.

Some Web sites that allow you to get a free credit report with scores. Most of these sites ask you to sign up for some kind of service, such as credit protection or credit monitoring. As long as you cancel anything they ask you to sign up for, usually within 7 to 14 days, there will be no fee for accessing your credit reports with scores.

Note that not all credit scores are the same! We mentioned the FICO score earlier, which is produced by Fair Isaac & Co. The CRAs also produce their own credit scores that are not based on FICO. Therefore, it is possible for you to receive three different credit scores from each of the three CRAs, even if the information in each credit report is identical.

Negotiate a Settlement

Negotiate a settlement to your medical bills to eliminate collection calls from debt collectors. Follow the link just mentioned to learn more.

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