Healthcare is the leading cause of consumer debt in America. According to a recent Gallup survey, Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion last year to pay for healthcare. While changes in credit reporting may substantially increase patients’ pain, well-educated consumers can also find ways to manage their credit scores effectively. Healthcare recipients need education on the best methods to help them cope with financial challenges. That means informing consumers about the coming changes and what those mean for their credit report.

Possible credit reporting reform

The head of the House Financial Services Committee recently introduced the Comprehensive Consumer Credit Reporting Reform Act of 2019 for discussion. The bill reduces the length of time negative information remains on your credit report, removes certain debts within 45 days of settlement and limits the types of jobs that can require a positive credit history. It also aims to shift some of the burden off of consumers during a dispute.

Changing the way medical debt is reported

While those all sound like positive changes for consumers, the bill is still in discussion. Any proposed legislation may be months away. However, credit reporting agencies have changed the way they report on consumers’ medical calamities. Agencies have enacted a 180-day waiting period before including medical debt on credit reports. This delay is intended to standardize the reporting of medical debt while providing ample time to resolve disputes and process insurance payments.

The traditional system had consumers begging for a standardized method of reporting medical debt. Before the waiting period was enacted, there was no uniform procedure. Each healthcare facility had its own policy for reporting patient debt. One facility may have sent accounts to collections at 31 days past due while another waited 60 days. Consumers often found their credit reports being penalized because of an insurance payment that had not been processed in a timely fashion.

New credit scoring models

Thankfully, new scoring models have also been enacted to differentiate between medical and nonmedical debt. Under the new model, consumers receive smaller penalties for medical debt collections than nonmedical debt collection accounts. Credit reporting agencies have also given consumers the ability to influence their credit scores proactively. Consumers who grant the credit reporting agencies access to view bank accounts, utility payments history and other alternative data could see a significant uptick in their credit score.

Help from Healthcare Claims Management

The key to dealing with these changes effectively is knowledge. Consumers need to know exactly what changes are coming and how they will be affected. They also need access to knowledgeable and friendly staff who can help them mitigate the treacherous waters of medical debt without succumbing to the penalties of overdue healthcare costs.

Healthcare Claims Management does just that. As experts in patient experience, we partner with clients to help implement customized payment plan strategies that work. After implementation, our team goes a step further to actively monitor monthly payment plans and ensure that terms are being met in a timely fashion. Our consistent policy management efforts increase organizational revenue and reduce the number of days in accounts receivable. Healthcare Claims Management utilizes a comprehensive approach to customer service with an emphasis on patient satisfaction and increased facility revenue. Schedule a call today with Michael, to discuss how HCM can help you.