The three nationwide credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – today announced significant changes to medical collection debt reporting to support consumers faced with unexpected medical bills. These joint measures will remove nearly 70% of medical collection debt tradelines from consumer credit reports, a step taken after months of industry research.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, two-thirds of medical debts are the result of a one-time or short-term medical expense arising from an acute medical need. After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and a detailed review of the prevalence of medical collection debt on credit reports, the NCRAs are making changes to help people to focus on their personal wellbeing and recovery.
Effective July 1, 2022, paid medical collection debt will no longer be included on consumer credit reports. In addition, the time period before unpaid medical collection debt would appear on a consumer's report will be increased from 6 months to one year, giving consumers more time to work with insurance and/or healthcare providers to address their debt before it is reported on their credit file. In the first half of 2023, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will also no longer include medical collection debt under at least $500 on credit reports.
The companies' CEOs provided a joint statement on the decision to change medical collection debt reporting:
"Medical collection debt often arises from unforeseen medical circumstances. These changes are another step we're taking together to help people across the United States focus on their financial and personal wellbeing," said Mark W. Begor, CEO Equifax; Brian Cassin, CEO Experian; and Chris Cartwright, CEO TransUnion. "As an industry we remain committed to helping drive fair and affordable access to credit for all consumers."