Proposed Medical Debt Relief Act Extends Waiting Period for Credit Reporting

New version of legislation would enact a one-year requirement before reporting a consumers’ medical debt. Previous proposals limited the waiting period to 180 days.

5/22/2019 1:30 PM

Proposed Medical Debt Relief Act Extends Waiting Period for Credit Reporting

Legislation introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, R-Ore., on May 21 would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require a one-year waiting period before medical debts are added to consumers’ credit reports.

The Medical Debt Relief Act, introduced by Merkley in 2018, initially had a 180-day waiting period.  

The 2019 proposal, S. 1581, also includes a requirement to remove paid and settled medical debts from consumers’ credit reports, and amends the FDCPA to “provide a timetable for verification of medical debt and to increase the efficiency of credit markets with more perfect information, and for other purposes,” according to the bill text.

During the one-year period, consumers may apply for financial assistance and  communicate with their insurance company about covering the bill, according to an article on the proposal from

Cosponsors include U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Bob Menendez, D-N.J.; and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

ACA International conducted a survey to collect members’ feedback on their experiences with reporting medical debt and the proposed timeframe for credit reporting after Merkley introduced the legislation last year.

Following the survey, members continue to examine how paid debt should be treated to ensure that a consumer is not penalized beyond resolution of the account.

More information on medical debt credit reporting is available for members in ACA International’s online advocacy booklet and ACA is reviewing the proposed legislation.

The Medical Debt Relief Act of 2019 was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

Related Content from ACA International:

Medical Debt Relief Act Reintroduced in Senate

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