It is estimated that medical debt has lowered the credit scores of 30 million Americans. While many of those impacted do not have health insurance, many of those who do have been affected as well. Many times, a medical debt listed on a credit report is listed in error or is not a valid obligation. Therefore, it is recommended that everyone check their credit periodically to look for errors.
If an error is found, it is a good idea to dispute the erroneous information as soon as possible. Doing so can make it easier to either get it removed or have the creditor put the information into context for lenders or others who may see it. If a formal dispute does not work, it may be necessary to take the offending party to small claims court. While the goal is to call the other party's bluff, consumers should be ready to follow through on the lawsuit if necessary.
Finally, it is a good idea to contact as many people or institutions as necessary to resolve the debt dispute. It may be possible to file a claim with a local trade organization or a state or local government agency. While such an agency may not have direct jurisdiction, it may be able to convince the creditor to drop its claim.
Individuals who are dealing with credit issues may wish to talk to a bankruptcy attorney. Legal counsel might explain the benefits of filing, like obtaining a fresh financial start and putting an end to most or all creditor contact. Depending on the type of bankruptcy protection sought, it may be possible to have medical debt or other obligations discharged in a matter of weeks or months.