The Pain of Medical Debt

Report shows inaccurate bills, coercive debt collections

Andy Spears

--

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash

A report released by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows that consumers with medical debt often suffer from inaccurate billing and aggressive collection tactics.

The report was an in-depth examination of complaints about medical billing and collections submitted to the CFPB. Among the top issues were inaccurate bill amounts and aggressive or coercive collection tactics.

“Many Americans feel forced to pay medical bills that they have already paid or never owed to begin with,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “The credit reporting system should not be used as a weapon to coerce patients into paying medical bills they do not owe.”

The CFPB noted that inaccurate billing can result in harm to consumers as accounts are referred to collection agencies.

When allegedly unpaid or unresolved medical bills get referred to collections and reported to the credit reporting system, people face reduced access to credit, increased risk of bankruptcy, and difficulty securing employment and housing. These negative consequences can occur even when the underlying bill is erroneous, not owed, or unverified.

The report outlined a number of key findings, including that consumers:

--

--

Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .