Medical bills do not affect your credit score directly, but unpaid medical bills that are sent to a collection agency can cause your credit score to fall by up to 100 points. Medical bills paid on time will not benefit your credit score, however.
For an unpaid medical bill to be added to your credit report, and thus hurt your credit score, the debt in question must be at least 180 days past due, according to a 2015 settlement between 31 states and the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. The settlement applies to all 50 states and requires the removal of a medical collections account from your credit report if an insurance company pays the debt based on your selected medical coverage.
Assuming the record is not an error and you are responsible for payment (rather than an insurance company), a collections account will remain on your credit report for seven years from the date of first delinquency (when the unpaid bill was first late). Even paying the amount you owe out of pocket will not result in the notation’s early removal, though doing so will help revert some of the credit damage done to date.
With that being said, the newest credit-score models – VantageScore 3.0 and FICO Score 9 – ignore settled and paid collections accounts, and FICO Score 8 ignores collections accounts with an original balance of less than $100. That means the accounts will remain on your report but will no longer impact your credit score.
You can see if any medical collections accounts are listed on your credit report and check your credit score by signing up for a free WalletHub account. WalletHub is the only website that offers free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis. You’ll also benefit from 24/7 credit monitoring, which will notify you if any negative records are added to your credit report.
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