September 22, 2018

Tiny, Hidden Credit Report Errors Can Lead to Bankruptcy

Credit reporting mistakesThe Wall Street Journal recently published a new story entitled Hidden Medical Debt Trips Up Homeowners. The report documented several cases in which small medical bills that had been turned over to collection resulted in a more than 50 point drop in a homeowner’s credit score.

In one situation, a homeowner attempted to refinance his mortgage, only to discover that two unpaid medical bills totaling less than $50 had caused his credit score to drop.  As a result of the lowered credit score the refinancing bank demanded over $4,000 in closing costs.

In another situation, less than $500 of medical debt reported to a collection agency disqualified a homeowner from a favorable interest rate, which would have resulted in tens of thousands of extra interest charges.

In many of these situations, the consumer never knew about the unpaid medical debt – the provider simply turned the claim over to a collection agency which immediately reported it to the credit reporting agencies as delinquent debt.

According to the Journal, “otherwise well-qualified borrowers with good loan-to-value ratios and steady employment are increasingly finding it difficult to refinance because of medical billing mistakes marring their credit.”

If you or a loved one has been in the hospital, you probably know that a single visit can result in five, ten or even more bills from separate vendors – the hospital, the hospital pharmacist, the anesthesiologist, the ambulance service, etc.  I do not find it surprising at all that a patient would not know about one or more bills. [Read more…]

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