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Medical debts and how they affect your credit rating

Medical debts can affect your credit score, especially if you fall too far behind. Medical debts aren't reported in the same was as other debts, though, so if you find yourself falling behind, you and your attorney may be able to slow down the reporting process and save your credit score by filing for bankruptcy or catching you up on your payments.

Health care providers may report your debts to the major credit-reporting bureaus, but they normally don't unless your bill goes completely unpaid. Credit bureaus also wait to apply these debts for at least 180 days. This gives you more time to resolve your medical bills and to pay them down or to get onto a plan that will keep you from missing payments.

Medical debt doesn't affect your credit score as much as other kinds of debts. This is likely because there are so many medical debts in the United States that they're not uncommon to see reported to the bureaus. Patients can keep themselves out of this situation entirely by being proactive.

What does this mean? It means that you should stand up for yourself in situations where bills are getting too high or even impossible to pay. There are ways to reduce medical debt and to keep it off your credit report, so you don't have to worry about it making it harder for you to take out more credit, loans, or to complete other transactions in the future. Make sure you owe all the bills you have, and negotiate with your creditors to get yourself back on track.

Source: NerdWallet.com, "How Medical Debt Can Affect Your Credit Score," Sep. 18, 2015

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