CFPB Announces New Rules for Medical Debt Collection and Reporting

Bureau cracks down on medical debt reporting practices

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If you have an outstanding medical debt on your credit report, then you understand the stress that often comes along with it. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau notes that more than 43 million Americans have past due medical debt on their credit reports.

In light of the fact that an overwhelming number of consumers are dealing with crushing medical debt, the CFPB has announced changes that will assist consumers challenged by this issue. The bureau will now require major consumer reporting agencies to make regular accuracy reports available, outlining how customer disputes are being addressed.

“It’s hard for consumers to navigate the medical debt maze and come out with a clean credit report on the other side. The CFPB is taking action to improve credit report accuracy. Getting medical care should not make your credit report sick,” says CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

The CFPB notes that medical debt can be very troublesome because it is often incurred during a time of great distress for the consumer (for example after an accident or sudden illness). Furthermore, consumers can be left responsible for a bill in situations where there was an issue between the insurance company and medical provider.

The CFPB found in a recent study on medical debt that half of all past due debt on credit reports is from medical debt (52%). The average reported medical debt is $579.

Read the full CFPB report here.