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Some medical debt removed from credit reports, more to come

All medical debt that went to collections, but is now paid off, should be off of your credit report.

INDIANAPOLIS — The three major credit bureaus are shifting how they report medical debt in phases.

In July 2022, two of the three changes went into effect. All medical debt that went to collections, but is now paid off, should be off of your credit report.

In addition, the time period before unpaid medical collection debt appears on your credit reports increased from six months to one year.

Sara Rathner with Nerdwallet said the time change should help consumers.

"It gives you time to negotiate those bills with your health care providers and your insurance companies," Rathner said.

There is one more big change coming in 2023. Medical debts in collections less than $500 will not show up on your report.

This is happening because experts argue medical debt is different from debt you take on willingly.

"Medical debt is something that happens to you through no fault of your own," Rathner said, "we can't predict when we're going to get injured or get sick."

Research by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureaus also suggests that "medical collections are less predictive of future repayment risk than other collections or payment history on loans."

You can check for the changes by pulling your credit report.

Go to AnnualCreditReport.com - a site authorized by the federal government. Right now, you can get one report a week for free because of the pandemic.

If you see something there you shouldn't, contact each bureau individually.

Here's how to see each credit bureau's process for handling disputes:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also offers a template for letters

Once you request your report, it's also important to check for mistakes in your basic information and hard inquiries for identity theft.

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