Medical debt is notoriously expensive and difficult to figure out. When you have a large amount of unpaid medical debt, it’s usually from an unexpected event in your life—from an automobile accident to emergency surgery to cancer treatment—and trying to pay it off in a timely manner can be a stressful experience. But what happens if you can’t pay your medical debt off in a timely manner in Georgia? How will it affect the rest of your financial future? How will it affect your credit score?
UNPAID MEDICAL DEBT CAN GO ON YOUR CREDIT SCORE
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFB), 43 million Americans have overdue medical debt reported on their credit. If you have medical debt on your credit report, this can potentially decrease the number on your credit score. And, as we all know, a lowered credit score can be damaging. But this staggering number of people who have overdue medical debt shows just how confusing the process of paying off medical debt can be. Often, patients will receive medical bills from every physician who was involved in a hospital stay or during a surgery, which can be a lot to organize and keep track of—making it easy to accidentally neglect a payment.
Although medical debt can potentially affect your credit score, the rules have changed a bit to be more in favor of the consumer. For example, in 2014 the CFB announced that major consumer reporting agencies are now required to provide routine accuracy reports. Additionally, you now also have 180 days from the date your bill is past due before the debt is added to your credit report. This amount of time should hopefully be enough in most cases to settle any disputes with the bill or to follow up with the insurance company to ensure everything is paid.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW AS A PATIENT ABOUT UNPAID MEDICAL BILLS
If you have a medical bill from your doctor’s office or a hospital and it hasn’t gotten paid before the due date, it’s likely that they will turn it over to a third-party debt collector who will handle the account. Most medical debt that is reported to the credit bureaus is provided by these third-party companies. (So, this essentially means if you ignore the third-party collectors, then that’s what will get the report to the credit bureau.) Most of the time, these third-party debt collectors are willing to work with you on a payment plan or to help you find assistance with your medical bills.
It’s also important to know that unpaid medical debt is weighed less heavily on your credit score than non-medical debt.
Do you have unpaid medical debt from a personal injury in Atlanta? A personal injury lawyer can help you get properly compensated and help you ensure that your medical debt gets paid. Give the Fry | Goehring a call today at (404) 948-3571.