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Biden Administration Implements Measures to Eliminate Medical Debt Impact on Credit Reports

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Biden Administration Takes Steps to Remove Medical Bills from Credit Reports

The Biden administration is making efforts to completely eliminate medical debt from consumer credit reports, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) outlining proposed rules to prevent unpaid medical bills from impacting individuals' credit scores. According to the CFPB, one in five Americans currently have medical debt on their credit reports, which can lead to a debt spiral and limit housing, loan, and credit card options. Recognizing the significant impact of credit scores on economic health and wealth, Vice President Kamala Harris emphasized the importance of addressing this issue. Medical debt is the most common type of debt in collection, accounting for 58% of all third-party debt collection on consumer credit reports. Furthermore, the complexity of medical billing often results in errors, with an estimated 80% of medical bills containing mistakes.

Proposed Measures to Address Medical Debt

The CFPB has put forth proposals to prohibit consumer reporting companies, including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, from including medical debts and collection information on consumer credit reports. While these companies have already stopped including medical debt under $500 in collections on credit reports since July 2022, the new rules would make this approach mandatory and extend to all medical debt. Additionally, the agency aims to prevent creditors from relying on medical bills for underwriting decisions, ensuring that only non-medical information is considered when assessing loan applications. Notably, credit scoring models like Vantage Score and newer FICO score models have already reduced the weight given to medical debt and collections, recognizing their limited predictive value.

Implications and Future Outlook

The rulemaking process will take time, with CFPB officials expecting to issue a formal rule sometime next year. While the proposed changes aim to alleviate the burden of medical debt, concerns have been raised about potential consequences for medical providers compared to other industries. However, supporters of the CFPB, such as Senator Elizabeth Warren, commend the initiative for addressing the financial strain caused by medical emergencies and protecting individuals from having their credit ruined. As the discussions and rulemaking progress, it remains to be seen how these measures will impact the credit reporting landscape and the financial well-being of individuals burdened by medical debt.

Biden Administration's Move to Erase Medical Debt from Credit Reports: Implications for New Business Formations

The Biden administration's plan to remove medical debt from consumer credit reports could have far-reaching impacts on new business formations. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing rules to prevent unpaid medical bills from affecting credit scores, a move that could potentially reshape the lending landscape.

Medical Debt and Credit Scores

With one in five Americans having medical debt on their credit reports, this initiative could significantly alter the financial health of potential entrepreneurs. The removal of medical debt from credit reports could improve credit scores, expanding access to loans and credit cards, and potentially fostering an environment conducive to new business formations.

The Role of Credit Reporting Companies

The proposed rules would prohibit consumer reporting companies from including medical debts and collection information on consumer credit reports. This could level the playing field for aspiring business owners burdened by medical debt, enabling them to secure necessary funding for their ventures.

Implications for Loan Applications

The CFPB's aim to prevent creditors from relying on medical bills for underwriting decisions could also have significant implications. By ensuring that only non-medical information is considered when assessing loan applications, potential entrepreneurs may find it easier to secure the capital they need to start their businesses. In the future, the success of this initiative will depend on the rulemaking process, which is expected to be completed next year. Despite concerns about potential consequences for medical providers, the move is largely seen as a positive step towards alleviating the financial strain caused by medical emergencies. As the process unfolds, the impact on new business formations will be closely watched.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/21/biden-administration-takes-steps-to-remove-medical-bills-from-credit-reports.html
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