Medical Bills Showing Up On Your Credit Report?
It’s an unsettling feeling when a medical bill you’re disputing pops up on your credit report as an outstanding debt. Fortunately, if you’ve been placed in collections, you can still benefit from the services we offer at DisputeBills.
In fact, DisputeBills has been successful over 95% of the time in obtaining a positive resolution for accounts in collections. But, after the debt is settled, you may want to take it one step further to remove it from your report. Here’s how:
First, Know Your Rights
The National Consumer Assistance Plan is a relatively new initiative launched by the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. One major benefit of the plan is it restricts the reporting of medical bills until after 180-days.
This waiting period allows time for insurance payments to be applied and medical disputes to be resolved. The credit bureaus will also remove medical debt from your report if it’s been paid or is being paid by an insurance company. In addition, under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, negative hits to your report have to drop off after seven years.
Even though these initiatives and laws are in place to protect you, errors often slip through the cracks. Actively monitor your history to make sure what’s reported follows these rules. If it doesn’t, you have grounds to dispute the record.
Pull Reports From Each Bureau
If you find an item to dispute on one report, you need to check the other two credit bureaus as well. You’re entitled to one free credit report from annualcreditreport.com. But if you’ve already used your freebie this year, you can go to the following sites:
- Credit.com – Offers Experian credit scores and report cards
- CreditKarma.com – Offers Equifax and TransUnion credit scores and reports
File A Dispute The “Old-Fashioned” Way
Each credit bureau has an online dispute submission form. However, you should send your dispute through snail mail to provide the full detail and evidence necessary to plead your case. Here’s the dispute information for each credit bureau:
Disputes for TransUnion
Mail to TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022-2000
Instructions: Complete the Request for Investigation form and mail it into the address above.
Disputes for Experian
Mail to Experian
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
Instructions: Mail a document with your name and middle initial, your social security number and addresses for the past two years. List the items on your report that are inaccurate and the reason.
Disputes for Equifax
Mail to Experian Information Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374
Instructions: Include a letter with your information, the reason for dispute and documents to back it up.
(Visit the Federal Trade Commission for a sample dispute letter).
Once a dispute claim is received by the credit bureau the source of the debt has 30 to 45 days to respond to the claim. If there’s no response to back up the negative history on your report, it will be removed. After the investigation is over, you’ll receive a notification of changes (if there are any) and you’ll get a new copy of your credit report.
The Last Resort
If the dispute isn’t resolved in your favor, all isn’t lost. One option you have is to submit a 100-word statement to add to your credit report. Although it won’t erase your negative history, it gives you an opportunity to explain what happened to anyone that pulls your report.
Keep in mind, if you put medical details in your statement it’s going to be available to anyone who performs a check on you. Lastly, depending on the severity of the situation, you can choose to take legal action. In this case, make sure the benefit of having the record removed is worth the cost of litigation.