Published: May 2013

Consumers unfairly tarnished by medical bills

Consumer Action supports the Medical Debt Responsibility Act of 2013, which requires credit agencies to remove fully paid or settled medical debt from consumers' credit reports within 45 days.

Annually, approximately 73 million Americans experience medical billing problems or accrue medical debt. Medical debt is unique in that it is not typically reported to the credit bureaus when it is paid on time since healthcare providers don't usually report to credit bureaus. When medical bills are sent to collection agencies, they are generally reported to credit bureaus, negatively impacting credit scores. To make matters worse, the medical billing system is fraught with errors and confusion, further compounding the situation for consumers. In fact, a 2012 Federal Trade Commission report found as many as 40 million Americans have mistakes on their credit report.

The Medical Debt Responsibility Act will prevent the credit records of millions of consumers from being unfairly tarnished. Credit records will show consumers who successfully paid off or settled their medical bills are more creditworthy than their credit report would otherwise indicate to a prospective lender.

Other Organizations

Americans for Financial Reform | American Medical Association | The Asset Building Program, New America Foundation | California Association of Mortgage Professionals | Consumer Federation of America | Consumer Action | Consumers Union | Corporation for Enterprise Development | Demos | Leading Builders of America | Mortgage Bankers Association | NAACP | National Association of Home Builders | National Association of Mortgage Brokers | National Consumer Law Center | The National Consumer Reinvestment Coalition | National Consumer Reporting Association | The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America | U.S. PIRG

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Consumers unfairly tarnished by medical bills   (MDRA_Coalition_Letter.pdf)




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