If you’re struggling to pay off medical debt, you’re not alone. Learn how to get medical bills off your credit report.
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Check your credit report
One of the best ways to keep tabs on your credit report is to check it regularly. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus once every 12 months. Reviewing your credit report can help you spot errors and potential signs of identity theft early on.
If you see a medical bill on your credit report that doesn’t look familiar, don’t hesitate to reach out to the creditor for more information. It’s possible that the bill is an error, or that you’re dealing with identity theft.
If the medical bill is accurate, you’ll need to take steps to pay off the debt. Once you’ve paid off the debt, you can then dispute the entry on your credit report.
Find the medical bills that are being reported
The first step is to get a copy of your credit report so that you can see which medical bills are being reported. You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you have been denied credit, insurance, or employment within the past 60 days, you are also entitled to a free report. You can get your free credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Once you have your credit report, look for any entries from collection agencies or the original creditors for medical bills. These will be listed under “credit accounts” or “collection accounts.” Make a list of all of the medical bills that are being reported on your credit report.
Call the creditor
If you have a medical bill that’s gone to collections, you might be wondering how to get medical bills off your credit report. The good news is, there are a few things you can do to get rid of these negative marks and improve your credit score.
First, you should call the creditor and try to negotiate a payment plan. If you can come up with a plan that both parties agree to, the creditor may be willing to remove the negative mark from your credit report.
Another option is to dispute the bill with the credit reporting agency. If you have proof that the bill is inaccurate or if it’s been paid off in full, you can contact the agency and ask them to remove it from your report.
Finally, you can also try writing a “goodwill letter” to the creditor. In this letter, you explain your financial situation and ask them to remove the negative mark from your credit report as a goodwill gesture. These letters don’t always work, but it’s worth a try!
Negotiate a payment plan
Once you have reviewed your medical bills and identified which ones may be inaccurate, it’s time to start negotiating with your healthcare providers. If you are unable to pay the full amount owed, ask the provider if you can set up a payment plan. Many healthcare providers are willing to work with patients to create a plan that meets their budget and needs.
If you decide to set up a payment plan, be sure to get the details in writing. This should include the total amount you will be paying, how long you have to pay it off, and the interest rate (if any). Once you have this information, make sure you make your payments on time and as agreed. This will help improve your credit score over time.
Get the agreement in writing
Even if you have verbally agreed to a payment plan with your creditor or collection agency, get the agreement in writing before you make your first payment. The agreement should state the total amount you will pay, the monthly payment amount, and the date your payments will be reported to the credit bureaus.
If the bill has been turned over to a collection agency, make sure you get the name and contact information for the collection agency in writing. This way, you can be sure that your payments are being applied to your debt, and not pocketed by the collection agency.
Make your payments
Paying your medical bills on time is the best way to improve your credit score. Prompt payments will show up on your credit report and help to offset any negative marks caused by late or missed payments.
You can set up a payment plan with your medical provider to make it easier to pay off your debt. Many providers are willing to work with you to create a plan that fits your budget and helps you get caught up on your payments.
If you’re having trouble making ends meet, there are also a number of charitable organizations that can help you with your medical bills. These organizations may be able to provide financial assistance or connect you with resources that can help you get back on track.
Check your credit report again
After you’ve paid off the debt, give your credit report a second look to make sure the debt is no longer being reported. If it is, you can file a dispute with the credit bureaus.
You’ll want to do this whether you paid the debt in full or settled it for less than you owe. In both cases, you have a right to have the debt removed from your credit report if the creditor agrees to do so.
The creditor is not required to remove the debt, but if they do agree, they must notify the credit bureau and request that the debt be removed from your report.
If you don’t see any movement after a few weeks, you can reach out to the creditor again and ask them to confirm that they’ve removed the debt from your credit report.