Medical debt can be hugely expensive and often unexpected. And it affects millions of American’s credit scores.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 43 million Americans had overdue medical debt on their credit report in 2014.
When you’re one of these millions of Americans, you could probably use some help.
Read on for an explanation of your options to fix credit score after medical debt.
You can make a dispute if your medical bill went to collections in error and you catch the mistake early enough (usually within 180 days). An error means that the payment was made and the report is inaccurate.
If your insurance company has now paid the bill it could also be possible to have it removed from your credit report. Here’s what you should keep in mind to successfully file a dispute.
Collect documentation proving that the bill has been paid. Contact the doctor’s office for payment records, look back to your old credit card statement, or contact the insurance company for documentation.
File the dispute with any credit bureaus reporting the error. You’ll need to check your credit reports from all three of the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
The written dispute will include your personal information (name, social security number, date of birth), a copy of your I.D. card, and an explanation of what each disputed charge is and why you believe it was reported in error.
In most cases, they’re required to respond to your dispute within 30 days. Be proactive and follow up with them to check on the status of your claim. Respond as promptly as you can, if they require that you provide additional information.
Stay diligent and you’ll qualify for credit cards for excellent credit.
If your credit suffered because of failure to pay your medical bills, here are the things to keep in mind when working to rebuild good credit.
Making your payments on time is probably the most important thing to do. Many banks offer the option to receive payment reminders through email, online banking notifications, or text messages.
You can also set up automatic payments and take the payment process out of your hands entirely.
You should avoid closing credit card accounts. Buying on credit is still a good idea, but reduce the amount you owe overall. Paying down your debt can be very difficult, but it has a big impact on your credit score.
Don’t try moving debt around to different accounts, or opening more lines of credit than you need to improve your credit score. These are likely to backfire.
Whether you’re in the position to dispute your credit report or you have a more long term fix credit score plan, you can get started today with this information.
Stay informed on other topics as well that can be just as important.