Doctors and medical offices don’t report your unpaid bills to the credit reporting agencies. They send them to bill collection agencies and they report your debt. Once reported, the unpaid medical debt may negatively impact your credit score making it drop 50 to 100 points. Whether paid or not, the medical debt reported will stay on your credit report for up to 7 years.
When it comes to credit reporting, you must know your rights. Here is an overview of the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act
Your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act include:
- You have the right to receive a copy of your credit report. The copy of your report must contain all of the information in your file at the time of your request.
- If you contest the completeness or accuracy of information in your report, you may file a dispute with the CRA and with the company that furnished the information to the CRA. Generally both the CRA and the furnisher of information are legally obligated to reinvestigate your dispute as long as it is not frivolous.
- CRA’s must correct or remove inaccurate, incomplete or unverifiable information in their files. CRA’s must remove obsolete information in their files.
- If you are a victim of identity theft or are on active duty with the military, you have more rights under the FCRA.
- Only those with a permitted purpose or with your express permission may access your file.
- Generally employers must have your express written permission to obtain your report.
- Any company that denies your application, or takes an adverse action against you, based on information obtained from a CRA, must inform you of the adverse action and must supply you with the name and address of the CRA they used.
- You have the right to a free copy of your credit report in numerous instances including when your application for credit or employment is adversely affected because of information supplied by the CRA. You can get a free credit report each year in any case.
- You may opt-out of lists provided by the national credit bureaus that are based on your credit file.
- You may sue under the FCRA for violations of the Act.
- Credit scores are available to you on request from credit reporting agencies and sometimes from mortgage lenders. There may be a fee for the score.
If you have any issues with the information contained in your credit report, please call or email us for assistance. We have the necessary experience and knowledge to deal directly with the reporting agencies. In most cases we can get the negative information removed or corrected to improve your score and get you the loan or mortgage you desire.
Your credit report from the 3 US credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, are available for you to view for free annually at AnnualCreditReport.com. Access your report and check for errors and fraudulent accounts. This report doesn’t include your credit score.
If any discrepancies are noticed, contact the credit reporting agencies and the bank or the credit card company reporting the unauthorized or wrong information and immediately report any issues. They’re required to investigate. It is important that you keep a log and copies of your correspondence.
Your credit score
Credit card companies display your credit score for free in your account. It is recommended that you check it on a regular basis. Paying bills on time and reducing debt can help improve your credit score.
Credit reporting agencies typically update the information monthly. However, each of your credit account information change more often depending on due dates and payment cycles for each account. Additionally, large credit card companies have millions of accounts and they report portion of them at different times, for easier management of large data. Other information, such as bankruptcies and hard and soft inquiries are also reported within days, weeks or months from their occurrence. Thus, you will see changes in your credit reporting account all the time.