Washington DC – Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced legislation today that will prohibit companies from using paid off or settled medical debt in assessing consumer credit scores. The Medical Debt Relief Act will assist approximately 72 million Americans affected by medical bill problems and medical debt.
“It’s already incredibly difficult for families to pay off the high cost of medical treatments for serious injuries and diseases,” said Merkley. “To add insult to injury, after families pay off their exorbitant medical debt, they continue to take a hit on their credit scores. That’s simply unfair. This bill will give families a fair deal and ensure that their future financial transactions won’t be negatively affected by a bad credit score just because of past medical debt.”
“This is a straight forward solution to a problem plaguing thousands of Americans,” Dorgan said. “Right now, just one unresolved medical bill – whether or not it is being disputed – can damage a consumer’s credit score for years. In other cases, patients who face costly treatments suffer the aftereffects of dealing with poor credit even after their debts are paid. With this legislation, we are standing up for the American consumers who need protection from such practices.”
Actualmente, incluso los cobros de deudas médicas que se han pagado o liquidado por completo pueden dañar significativamente el puntaje crediticio de un consumidor durante años. Como resultado, a los consumidores se les puede negar crédito o pagar tasas de interés más altas al comprar una casa u obtener una tarjeta de crédito. Debido a que muchas facturas médicas se envían primero a las compañías de seguros, los consumidores a menudo no se enteran de que son responsables de una factura médica hasta que reciben noticias de una agencia de cobros, momento en el cual su puntaje crediticio ya se ha visto afectado.
The Medical Debt Relief Act will fix this inequity by prohibiting consumer credit agencies from using paid off or settled medical debt collections in assessing a consumer’s credit worthiness. In addition, the bill will require the creditor or credit rating agency to expunge the medical debt from the consumer’s record within 45 days from the day it is paid off or settled.