Does a medical bill sent to a collection agency affect my credit score?
Yes, a medical collection account can affect your credit scores in the same way as any other collection account on your credit report, depending on the credit scoring system being used. An unpaid medical collection account appearing on your credit report will likely have a negative impact on your credit scores, particularly if older credit scores are used by the lender.
The newest credit scoring formulas from FICO and VantageScore do not weigh medical collections as heavily as other types of collection accounts and may not count them at all after the collection is paid.
How Medical Collection Accounts Are Reported
There have been recent changes to the way medical collections will be reported that may offer some relief for people with medical debts. Effective September 15, 2017, Experian will not display medical collection accounts on a credit report until they are 180 days past due.
This gives individuals with medical debt six months to resolve any insurance or billing issues and to make payment arrangements if necessary before the balance is reported. Even if you are unable to pay the bill in full immediately or feel you are not responsible, you should always contact your medical provider or insurance company as soon as you receive a bill.
How Long Will a Medical Collection Stay on My Credit Report?
Once reported, collection accounts remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date. However, many of the newest credit scoring formulas either reduce the impact of paid medical collections or omit them when calculating your credit score.
This means paying your medical collection debt can have a positive effect on your credit scores even though the account itself remains a part of your credit history.
Thanks for asking,
The "Ask Experian" Team