File photo by Tierra Mallorca/UnSplash
File photo by Tierra Mallorca/UnSplash

CHICAGO — News that the big three credit reporting agencies will remove paid medical debt from their records could be a huge boon to everyone from job seekers to potential home owners.

The joint announcement was made Friday by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

The joint measures will remove nearly 70% of medical collection debt from consumer credit reports, a step taken after months of industry research, according to news release.

The credit reporting industry has been under pressure for lawmakers to make changes to their rporting to be more consumer friendly.

Banks, employers and landlords are among those who use credit scores in their decisions, and lingering reports of medical debt that have been paid makes it difficult for those who had fallen behind to get employment or housing.

The House passed two bills out of the committee before the pandemic – the Comprehensive CREDIT Act and the Protecting Your Credit Score Act of 2021– which “provide long overdue reforms to our credit reporting system.”

Both bills are now back under consideration.

Beginning 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.

“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.”

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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.