Michael D. Hart, P.C.

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How medical debt might impact a credit score

| May 8, 2020 | Chapter 13 Bankruptcy |

Virginia residents who have medical debt will see it remain on their credit reports for seven years. Unpaid medical debts are typically first listed on a credit report several months after patients receive their bills. In most cases, a hospital or other medical provider will wait three months before sending the bill to s collections agency. The collections agency then has the option to notify credit bureaus regarding the status of any amount owed.

It is important to note that a credit agency must wait 180 days before placing the information on a credit report. Once information related to the debt is added to a person’s report, it could have an impact on a credit score. However, medical debts may not have as drastic of an impact as other types of debts thanks to adjustments made to scoring models.

If the amount currently in collections is less than $100, the FICO scoring system will ignore it. If an outstanding balance is paid by an insurance company, it will be removed from a credit report no matter when it was placed there. Individuals can ask a service provider for financial aid or other help paying down any balance that they owe. It may also be possible to use a credit card to pay a medical bill.

Individuals who are struggling to pay off medical or other types of debt may want to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Doing so may allow a person to have unsecured debts discharged in a matter of weeks or months. An attorney may talk more about the process of filing for bankruptcy and other potential benefits of doing so. In many cases, the act of filing enables a person to obtain an automatic stay of creditor collection activities.