Medical Billing

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do medical bills affect your credit

Do Medical Bills Affect Your Credit?

Healthcare is an essential aspect yet a headache for patients. Rising expenses of medical treatments have made it difficult for patients to pay medical bills in full. Only a few people are capable of clearing their dues on time but the majority can’t afford expensive medical procedures. However, when they can’t pay a bill by all means, they are declared as debt-ridden which negatively impacts the credit outlook. Here, we will know: do medical bills affect your credit and how does it do? 

Many patients are confused about debt conditions. They miss an installment and think that it will decline the credit. But the reality is quite different. Let’s dive into this crucial healthcare subject and make the situation clear for you so you can keep your credit in line.

When Do Medical Bills Affect Your Credit Score?

person checking time to pay bill

Medical bills directly don’t affect your credit score. But the frequency you pay your bill surely does. After receiving the bill, if you pay it upfront then your dues are clear and it doesn’t have any impact on your credit.

But when you are incapable of paying the bill as we mentioned that most of the people aren’t, then healthcare providers will hand over your case to the medical collection after waiting for 180 days. 

Basically, these are the agencies that deal with those patients who don’t pay the bills on time. They communicate with the ones who owe the bills, find out common ground for payments by offering some options, and help healthcare providers receive their payment. 

However, if your case goes into the hands of these agencies then your credit score will see a negative impact. When they observe you can’t pay the bill, they declare your condition as bankrupt because by no means you can make the payment. What happens then is your bill will become a debt and you will pay the amount in installments. And if the amount is $500 or more, it will appear on the credit score.

This appearance of debt-to-be-paid on your credit will have long-term consequences. It will make it difficult for you to secure favorable loan terms in the future.

Know the Intricate Process of Medical Collection in Details

How Long Does Medical Debt Stay On Credit Score?

Unpaid medical bills are shown on your credit score for 7 years. Although healthcare providers take some time till they ask third-party collection agencies to take on your case. However, after a certain period, they will contact the debt collection agencies. In turn, these agencies will contact you and the procedure will proceed further.

The unpaid debt will be represented in your credit score as long as it has been showing on your reports. But worry not, as many healthcare providers do not decide to hire those agencies at first. However, this doesn’t mean you should delay your bills.

Before hiring collection agencies, providers will give you time as we discussed above so you have plenty of days to arrange the bill amount. Still, if you can’t pay the bill, ask for the payment options. Hospitals always have some payment options ready for needy patients so it is a good idea to discuss with them. 

Also, you can go for some government financial programs that will help you pay the bills without affecting your credit score.

How To Remove Medical Debt On Your Credit Score

person signing a document

The best and only way to not get your credit score hurt is to pay medical bills on time. We know that many patients can’t make the payments but you must discuss a payment strategy with the healthcare provider before it goes to collection. 

This proactive step will save you from going into debt. And it will not be associated with your credit as well. 

Also, if there is an error that even after payment, the debt shows on your credit score or if the starting balance is less than $500 but still shows on the credit, then you can dispute it with the credit bureau. Here are some steps to handle the case:

Gather Evidence

Keep all records and evidence at hand that shows your bills were paid. Ask for printed and signed copies of paid bills from your provider, find copies of paid checks, or get old credit card statements.

File Your Dispute

Then begin your case after filing the dispute with the opponent company. But first, it is essential to check all your reports from the top 3 credit bureaus i.e. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. This will confirm your representation of debts in credit.


Inform them of the critical credit issue you are facing. Keep communicating with them to explain your case and be ready to provide any documents they ask for because it will result in the efficient resolution of your credit score.

As we mentioned these steps, you must keep in mind that these steps are applicable when the bill is paid. But if you haven’t made the payment and you still want it not to show on your credit reports then there is no way you can stop the process after it has gone to the collections.

However, it is advised that you recheck your medical bills to find any potential errors. Sometimes there are chances that you are mistakenly charged high because of any omission so you can always communicate with the healthcare provider and make them reduce your bill. 

You can also get help from payment plans offered by healthcare providers. This will help you make the payment and stop handing over your bills to debt collection.

Preventing Negative Impact Of Medical Bills On Your Credit

girl tensing over her credit score

Medical bills can show unexpected charges and it is totally normal. But here is an essential guide you need to know in advance to stay away from any potential issues related to bills and credit scores.

Understand Your Insurance Coverage

This is a must step for every patient. Before beginning your treatment in any hospital or clinic make sure your services are under insurance coverage. This way you will know how much your insurance company will pay and how much you owe so that you can talk with the healthcare provider early on.


Medical bills can show a great reduction in amount through negotiation. After receiving the bill, directly report to your provider and explain to them your financial condition. First, ask them to reduce the bill and discuss with them a common payment ground that seems feasible to you. Many healthcare providers are willing to ease the patients instead of giving their cases to debt collection.

Here you might get assistance from medical billing advocates or lawyers. They are the ones who will conduct negotiations on your behalf utilizing their expertise and your medical information. Medical advocates have the potential to reduce your bill. They know when to take which step that will protect your financial situation.

Keep Track Of Deadlines

Even when your bill is less than $500, when it hasn’t chance that it will impact your credit, always keep in mind deadlines of the bill payments. Paying after the deadline will surely affect your credit score and result in many negative consequences. 

Monitor Your Credit Reports Regularly

As we discussed, it is essential to contact 3 big credit bureaus and have detailed information on your credit at hand. Regularly analyze your credit score to identify any unfair medical debt and dispute it early on before it becomes a threat to your credit reputation.

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    Taking Control

    The question “Do medical bills affect your credit” totally depends on how you perceive the situation. The only key here is a proactive approach and advance preparations so that it has the least impact on your credit score.

    Also, no matter how complicated a situation is, never delay communication with a healthcare provider. Show a quick response and always discuss the case firsthand. It will protect you from many negative consequences that might complicate the case further.

    We hope your guide has answered all the questions you might be looking for. Now you can better handle your medical debt case. Good luck with your health.

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