Medical issues, whether they happen to you or someone in your family, can have an extremely negative impact on your everyday life. Not only will you have to focus on healing and getting back to normalcy at work and home, but the financial strain that medical problems can put on you are felt almost immediately. No matter the size, bills can strain finances, which can affect your credit.
Fortunately, when you pay down or completely pay off your medical debt, it will have a positive impact on your credit score. In the event you are struggling to pay down your medical debt and it is impacting your credit score, The Law Offices of Jibrael S. Hindi may be able to help. Our firm is committed to helping clients restore their credit score in the face of mounting debt from medical bills.
How Do Medical Bills Affect Your Credit?
While medical bills are like any other debt, when it comes to credit, they are treated a little differently. Medical debt isn’t factored into your credit report until it is sent to a collections agency. Most health care providers don’t report to credit bureaus, and won’t send your debt to collections until they are months past due, usually between 60 and 120 days. Furthermore, credit bureaus provide an additional 180-day grace period to attempt to resolve any medical debt before it goes on your credit report.
This 180-day grace period is given because medical billing is an often slow-moving process. It could take your health insurance months to pay claims, or there may be a billing error that can slow the payment process even more. With the grace period, you can take time to correct any billing errors, make some payments, or work with your provider on a payment plan.
Just because you have the grace period doesn’t mean you should ignore a medical bill. Even though medical debt takes some time to show up on your credit report, once it does, it can do lasting damage—unpaid medical debt can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.
Can I Keep My Debt From Going to Collections?
Obviously, the easiest way to keep your medical debt from ending up on your credit report is to make sure it doesn’t go to collections. While you can’t always pay off all of your debt at once, working with the collections system is a better alternative to a bad credit rating. Here are several ways to keep your debt from going to collections:
- Review your Explanation of Benefits
- Make sure the charges are accurate
- Work on a payment plan
- Negotiate bills with collectors
If your debt has already been sent to collections, you can negotiate with them directly. First, make sure that the amount is correct and then you can ask that they not report it to the credit bureaus.
Can Paying Off Medical Debt Improve Your Credit Score?
One of the drawbacks of medical debt being treated differently from other consumer debt is that paying it off won’t improve your credit score—at least initially. If medical debt is on your credit report, you’ll have to wait out the seven-year window before your payments will boost your credit score. The good news is, the older the debt, the less impact it will have on your credit.
Better yet, the three largest credit bureaus in the United States—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—recently announced that medical debts will no longer be included on credit reports, and that existing debts that have been paid in full will be removed from existing credit reports.
Work With an Experienced Ft. Lauderdale Medical Debt Attorneys
If you are seeking to remove a medical debt collection from your credit report, you need an experienced medical debt attorney on your side. Attorney Jibrael S. Hindi works diligently to help clients protect their interests when it comes to removing debt and improving their credit score. Our firm takes cases on a contingency basis, whereby the firm does not get paid unless a recovery is obtained on your behalf. Call us today at (954) 907-1136 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation.