A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday would give patients behind on medical bills up to 120 days to work with debt collectors before the debt shows up on the consumer’s credit report.
Called the Accuracy in Reporting Medical Debt Act (H.R. 2211), the bipartisan bill was written and submitted by Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) and is co-sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.).
H.R. 2211 would allow patients a 120-day grace period to deal with debt collectors that contact them seeking payment on delinquent medical debt. Specifically, a consumer would need to provide proof to the debt collector that they are contesting the debt, working with a medical provider or insurance company to resolve the account, or have applied for financial assistance.
If the consumer meets these requirements, the collection agency is barred from reporting the debt to the three major credit reporting firms – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for 120 days.
The bill is similar to Senate efforts to remove medical debt from credit reports 45 days after repayment. But the new bill specifically targets medical debt collectors as it amends the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) rather than the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
For more on how the new law would work, check out the coverage on our sister publication insidePatientFinance.com.