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Treatment of medical debts in scores

By: Kari Michel

The way medical debts are treated in scores may change with the introduction of June 2011, Medical Debt Responsibility Act. The Medical Debt Responsibility Act would require the three national credit bureaus to expunge medical collection records of $2,500 or less from files within 45 days of their being paid or settled. The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) and Ralph M. Hall (R-Texas).

As a general rule, expunging predictive information is not in the best interest of consumers or credit granters — both of which benefit when credit reports and scores are as accurate and predictive as possible. If any type of debt information proven to be predictive is expunged, consumers risk exposure to improper credit products as they may appear to be more financially equipped to handle new debt than they truly are.

Medical debts are never taken into consideration by VantageScore  if the debt reporting is known to be from a medical facility. When a medical debt is outsourced to a third-party collection agency, it is treated the same as other debts that are in collection. Collection accounts of lower than $250, or ones that have been settled, have less impact on a consumer’s VantageScore.

With or without the medical debt in collection information, the VantageScore model remains highly predictive.