Millions of North Carolina residents are impacted by medical debt, but those who have managed to pay the balances could see their credit scores improve.
More than a third of the state’s population was in medical debt collection at the end of 2020, according to the most recent data available from the Urban Institute.
Medical debt alone, not including credit cards and student loans, has drawn more than NC 2 million in collections, The News & Observer reported, which can hurt your credit score.
Until recently, medical debt remained on credit reports for seven years, even if it was paid off.
Now, the big three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – will no longer include medical debt after its CNBC settlement.
RELATED: Here’s How to Get Help Paying Off Your Medical Debt in North Carolina
If you have medical debt, here are some of the other changes you can expect and how to check your credit report to dispute claims.
What changes are coming for those with medical debt?
In addition to settled medical debts that are not included in credit reports, consumers will have one year before unpaid debts appear on their reports after going to a collection agency, instead of six months, reported. CNBC.
Additionally, in the first half of 2023, agencies will not include any outstanding debt under $500 in credit reports.
How to check your credit report
You can get a free copy of your report from each of the three major credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com or Credit Karma.
To verify the medical debt you have already repaid, it is suggested that you go to the section where the report reports new debt, or the account information or collection sections of each report.
If you still see debt on your credit report, you can dispute the information with the company by explaining in a letter what you think is wrong, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can also contact companies online or by phone.
If you are sending a letter requesting changes, it should include:
Your full name, address and telephone number
A report confirmation number, if available
Any errors on your credit report, such as an account number for an account you may be disputing
An explanation of why you dispute the information
A request for deletion or correction of information
A copy of the part of your credit report that contains the disputed items
Credit reporting agencies are required to investigate your dispute and report the results to you, unless they determine your claim is frivolous, the CFPB says. If your dispute is accepted, information on all of your credit reports will be updated.