U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), asked Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray to begin addressing the harmful impact of medical debt collection and reporting on consumer credit.
In a letter to Cordray, the senators detailed the costs imposed on consumers and the economy by unfair medical debt collections and reporting and requested that the CFPB consider regulatory action to address these problems.
According to the senators, the medical debt collection process inflicts serious damage on the credit reports of millions of creditworthy consumers. Unlike most other debt, medical debt is often incurred unexpectedly, and given the complexity of the insurance process, health providers frequently send bills to collections before patients even know that they are personally responsible for paying. Because of these factors, the Senators say medical debts are less accurate predictors of a consumer’s creditworthiness than other debts, making their presence on the credit report unfair to consumers and unhelpful to lenders. (For more information about and to read a copy of the letter, visit our sister site, insideARM.com.)
In related news, the CFPB “celebrated” the one-year anniversary of its creation by filing its first civil enforcement action. The US agency filed suit against a California law firm accused of scamming homeowners in a loan modification pitch.