Medical debt often results from unpredictable events, but you shouldn’t let them ruin your credit for years to come. Many Americans are impacted by medical debt—it makes up a large portion of reported debt on credit reports.
The credit bureaus have established a 180-day waiting period before medical debt gets added to your credit reports—meaning you will have about six months to make payments or work something out with your insurance company. If a medical bill is paid late by your insurance company, the credit bureau must also remove it from your credit report.
There are a number of things you can do to help keep your medical bills from hurting your credit.
- Keep up to date on your medical bills to make sure that you don’t have a balance owed.
- Look at the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) forms your medical insurer sends you to be sure that the amount you owe matches the amount billed by your medical providers.
- Check your credit reports regularly for any medical debt you don’t recognize (medical identity theft is a growing problem).
- Dispute any incorrect information that appears on your credit report.