MEDICAL BILLS Q&A
Four in 10 Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance had problems paying medical bills last year.
How Does Medical Debt Affect Your Credit Score?
Medical care is obviously an important part of staying healthy, but costly medical bills can cause your bank account to suffer. Four in 10 Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance had problems paying medical bills last year, 40% of adults who struggled to pay medical debt say their credit rating has suffered as a result. Medical debt can negatively impact your credit score because by the time it shows up on your credit report, the debt has already gone to collections. Having an account in collections can seriously affect your credit score even if you are actively making payments on the debt.
Do Medical Bills Hurt Your Credit?
Medical bills will not affect your credit as long as you pay them. However, medical debt is handled a little differently than other types of consumer debt. Since most health care providers don't report to credit bureaus, your debt would have to be sold to a collection agency before appearing on your credit report.
Most medical providers won't sell the debt to a collection agency until you are 60, 90 or even 120 days or more past due. Exactly when that happens depends on your health care provider.
Even after your bill goes to collections, the account won't show up on your credit report right away. The three main consumer credit bureaus give you a 180-day waiting period to resolve any medical debt before the collection account appears in your credit history, so medical bills won't impact your credit score right away.