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Is Medical Debt Causing You Anxiety? Here's Some Good News

I won’t beat around the bush: I’m in a lot of debt. Like most chronically ill folks, I have my fair share of ever-increasing medical bills that lurk in my file folder, filling me with shame and dread. In addition to the routine costs of having a rare disease and several co-morbid conditions, I have tens of thousands in student loan debt – both private and federal.

The U.S. health care system (and other lending schemes, let’s be honest) is based on predatory billing and collections practices, so until that changes, the best we can do is work with what we have.

It’s not all doom and gloom for us, however.

How Medical Debt Is Changing

There are some exciting changes coming July 1, 2022! The three major credit bureaus are joining forces to remove approximately 70% of medical debt that’s already gone to collections from consumers’ credit reports. Medical collection debt that has been paid will be removed from credit reports and, in the first half of 2023, the three bureaus will also stop including medical debt that’s in collections and under $500 on reports.

In addition to all of this, the No Surprises Act – which helps protect patients from unexpected costs associated with seeing an out-of-network provider they did not choose, such as during an emergency or for surgery – will be more aggressively enforced. The VA will also stop reporting approximately 90% of the debt they have been and will be streamlining their debt forgiveness process.

So, how does this actually affect me?

These changes help remove surprise credit score and report changes because health care facilities and insurance companies don’t typically report unpaid bills to credit bureaus. Instead, these bills get sent to collections agencies, and, after a year

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