Americans may face medical debt even with health insurance for a variety of reasons, from high deductibles to uncovered items to billing errors and insurance disputes. Regardless of the reasons for medical debt, Texas residents can face consequences if these bills go unpaid. Many may wonder how delinquent medical bills may affect their credit.
Like other bills, medical expenses can affect credit when left unpaid. In fact, one-fifth of Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports noted that their credit had been negatively affected by unpaid health care bills. A lower credit score can make it harder to get a loan, rent a property or in some cases be approved for a job.
The good news is that medical debt typically takes more time to end up on a credit report, since health care providers will not report unpaid bills to a credit agency but will instead wait for a debt collector to do so. Additionally, new laws require major credit reporting agencies to wait 180 days before putting any delinquent medical bills on a credit report. Consumers may want to explore options to resolve or dispute the amounts owing in the meantime.
Consumers should know their rights when it comes to medical debt. While there is more time to dispute medical debt compared to other unpaid bills, it is harder to do so once the bill is turned over to a debt collector. Texas residents who are struggling with medical debt and wish to understand their options under state law should contact a lawyer in the state.