WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley and Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the Medical Debt Relief Act. This legislation would prevent medical debt from continuing to damage consumers’ credit scores after it has been paid off or settled, ensuring that otherwise-creditworthy consumers are able to find affordable credit to buy a home or a car or take out a loan.
La deuda médica es diferente a otros tipos de deuda. A diferencia de las deudas de tarjetas de crédito o los préstamos que los consumidores aceptan voluntariamente, las deudas médicas suelen ser el resultado de un accidente o una enfermedad inesperados que escapan al control del consumidor. Además, debido a los complejos sistemas de facturación médica y la posibilidad de malentendidos con las compañías de seguros de salud, las facturas médicas a menudo se envían a cobranza antes de que quede claro si es el consumidor o la aseguradora quien le debe dinero al proveedor de atención médica.
“No one chooses to have a sudden illness or injury,” merkley dijo. “Americans shouldn’t be punished financially because they had the bad luck to be hit by medical misfortune. Restoring credit opportunities for these Americans is good for working America and good for our economy.”
“Americans faced with a medical emergency, illness or injury should be focused on their recovery – not their credit score,” Blumenthal said. “Medical debt doesn’t fit in the same category as credit card debt or other consumer loans, and it shouldn’t permanently prevent anyone from buying a home or a car. Separating medical debt will ensure that an accident or illness do not limit anyone’s financial future.”
“Medical debt should not be allowed to ruin Americans’ credit scores,” Feinstein said. “Even the most financially responsible family could find their credit damaged through medical expenses incurred through no fault of their own. The long-term solution to this crisis is to ensure universal health care for all Americans, but in the short term we must take steps to prevent medical debt from hurting families’ ability to access credit.”
“Millions of working families are hit hard every year by the unexpected financial toll of a medical emergency or an unforeseen illness,” Warren said. “These consumers, who took on this debt through no fault of their own, should not have to endure the additional burden of years of bad credit. I’m glad to partner with my colleagues on a bill to help Americans who have paid off these debts get back on their feet and continue building a future.”
“The number one reason for personal bankruptcy in America is medical bills,” Dijo Durbin. “In the wake of an unexpected medical emergency or sickness, expensive medical treatments and residual medical debt can be damaging to patients and their credit scores. This bill is about fairness. It gives people breathing room for recovery so that unexpected medical situations do not ruin their creditworthiness.”
“All the financial planning in the world can’t prepare any middle class family for a sudden medical emergency or unforeseen illnesses – and the bills that come with them,” Menendez said. “Hardworking families are punished for being sick even after their medical debt is paid or settled and the damage to their credit scores can follow them for years, whether it’s being denied a mortgage or getting saddled with a higher interest car loan. If we can’t predict when a medical accident happens, we shouldn’t penalize a consumer for having one. Now it’s my hope that Congress can do the sensible thing, pass our bill, and make a difference in the lives of millions of working families hit hard by medical debt.”
“Americans who become sick or get injured should not have to worry about how this unforeseen hardship will damage their credit scores and potentially impact their ability to buy a house or take out a loan,” Hassan dicho. “This commonsense legislation will help ease the burden for consumers whose medical debt has crippled their ability to invest, purchase consumer goods, and contribute to our economy. I will keep fighting to lower health care costs and to ensure that all hard-working Granite Staters and Americans have the support they need to get ahead and stay ahead.”
La Oficina de Protección Financiera del Consumidor descubrió que 43 millones de consumidores estadounidenses tienen deudas médicas vencidas en sus informes crediticios, y que 15 millones solo tienen deudas médicas en sus informes crediticios. Muchos consumidores creen erróneamente que las facturas médicas impagas no influyen en la puntuación crediticia. Sin embargo, una vez que una deuda se asigna a la cobranza, incluso si la causa fue un sistema de facturación de atención médica ineficiente, la cuenta será considerada una cuenta derogatoria por los algoritmos de calificación crediticia.
Debido a la naturaleza atípica de la deuda médica, el valor predictivo de las cuentas médicas en los informes crediticios es bajo. Las compañías de informes crediticios han testificado ante el Congreso que eliminar la deuda médica de la consideración no dañaría el valor predictivo de los informes crediticios del consumidor.
The Medical Debt Relief Act would ensure that medical debt that is paid off or settled by a consumer is promptly removed from a credit report rather than haunting their credit score for years after.