HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The nation’s three national credit reporting agencies are changing how they will report medical debt on consumer reports.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will be making the changes starting on July 1. But credit experts tell ValleyCentral that this does not mean medical debt will be wiped clean.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, two-thirds of medical debt comes from sudden medical needs. If left unpaid, medical debt can lead to consumers having bad credit scores.
Jessica Moreno with Zap Credit Solutions told ValleyCentral that this is something that is seen quite often.
Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion will no longer include paid medical debt on consumer reports. Starting in 2023 medical debt less than $500 will also not be included.
Moreno said with these changes being put in place it does not mean people should not have to pay their medical bills.
“This does not mean that their collection has been sold to another company and that may hit the credit report, Moreno said. “So this of course does not elevate your responsibility to pay so you may see things on the report regardless.”
While these changes do not include higher medical bills, they will also extend the time before medical bills will hit the credit reports to one year.
UTRGV Finance Professor Monika Rabarisan tells ValleyCentral that consumers should always pay attention to their medical bills.
“Those medical bills are unexpected and sometimes if we do not pay attention those medical bills may have some errors or something so we need to be aware of those,” Rabarisan said.
As these changes roll-out, Moreno is urging consumers to stay on top of their medical debt before it gets out of band.
“Paying your debt after it is closed leaves a derogatory mark on your credit score due to non-payment,” Moreno said. “Paying after the fact is not going to give you a good credit score so the best way to do that is to make sure it gets taken care of prior to it getting to that.”