Area residents are among beneficiaries of new rules to block some medical debts from credit reports.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office was among 31 state attorneys general who settled with the “big three”credit reporting agencies −Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion − to change the rules so starting Sept. 15 no longer report medical debts that are less than six months past due on credit reports and will also remove medical debts if the debt is later paid by insurance.
“Medical debts are a huge portion of the negative information in credit reports, making up about half of debt collection black marks appearing on these reports and affecting one in five consumers with a credit report, or 43 million Americans,” said Chi Chi Wu, attorney with the National Consumer Law Center, in a statement. “With credit reports as a gatekeeper to affordable credit, employment, housing, and insurance, these changes should help tens of millions of consumers.”
The National Consumer Law Center, a nonprofit that works in consumer law and energy policy, recommended:
- Consumers check their credit reports on a yearly basis by going to the official source for free annual credit reports like www.annualcreditreport.com.
- After September 15, 2017, if a consumer spots a medical debt less than six months past due on her credit report, they should send a dispute to the credit reporting agency.
- If a dispute does not result in the deletion of the item, the consumer may want to send a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or their Attorney General if they are a resident of New York or one of the 31 states that signed the multistate agreement.
RELATED: Ohio man dies from West Nile virus