Support in Congress is growing for a bill that would require delinquent medical debt to be stripped from credit reports within 45 days of disposition.
According to our sister website, insideARM.com, the Medical Debt Responsibility Act of 2013 (HR 1767) now has 15 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, including several new supporters who sit on the committee where the bill currently resides. Five of the co-sponsors joined only last week.
A corresponding bill is working its way through the Senate (S. 160).
“Medical debt reporting has popped up as a major legislative concern lately,” writes insideARM’s Patrick Lunsford. In addition to the Medical Debt Responsibility Act, late last month Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.) filed the “Accuracy in Reporting Medical Debt Act of 2013” (HR 2211), which would prohibit debt collectors from reporting delinquent medical bills of patients to credit bureaus for 120 days. The patient must demonstrate that they are contesting the debt, working with a medical provider or insurance company to resolve the account, or have applied for financial assistance.
“The two bills would work together, with HR 1767 addressing credit reporting concerns after the debt is settled and [HR 2211] focusing on the beginning of the debt cycle,” writes Lunsford.
The bills also appear to dovetail with proposed IRS regulations prohibiting “extraordinary collection actions” by nonprofit hospitals. As reported yesterday, the IRS is expected to render a decision on these regulations sometime on or after July 5.