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Do you have medical debt in NC? How your credit score can improve

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Medical debt plagues millions of North Carolina residents, but those who have managed to pay off balances may see improvements in their credit scores.

According to the latest available data from the Urban Institute, more than a third of the state’s population was in medical debt collection proceedings at the end of 2020.

Not counting medical debt alone, credit cards, and student loans, more than 2 million North Carolinaians have landed in collections, reports The News & Observer, which can hurt your credit score.

Until recently, medical debt stayed on credit reports for seven years even after it was paid off.

Now the big three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — will no longer include medical debt after CNBC reported that it was settled.

RELATED: Here’s how to get help paying off your medical debt in North Carolina

If you have medical debt, here are some of the other changes you can expect and how to check your credit report to dispute claims.

What changes are coming for those with medical debt?

In addition to not including medical debt that has been paid off on credit reports, consumers will get a year before unpaid debt shows up on their reports after going to a collection agency instead of six months, CNBC reported.

Also, the agencies will not include unpaid debts of less than $500 on credit reports in the first half of 2023.

How to check your credit report

You can get a free copy of your report from any of the three major credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com or Credit Karma.

To look for medical debt that you have already paid off, look at the section where the report identifies new debt, or the account information or collections sections of each report.

If you still see debt on your credit report, you can dispute the information with the company by sending a letter explaining what you think is wrong, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You can also contact companies online or by phone.

If you are sending a letter requesting changes, it should include the following:

  • Your full name, address and phone number

  • A report confirmation number, if available

  • Any error in your credit report, e.g. B. An account number for an account that you may dispute

  • An explanation of why you are disputing the information

  • A request to remove or correct the information

  • A copy of the portion of your credit report that contains the disputed items

Credit bureaus are required to investigate your dispute and report the results to you unless they determine your claim is frivolous, the CFPB says. If your appeal is accepted, the information on all of your credit reports will be updated.

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Evan Moore is a service journalism reporter for the Charlotte Observer. He was raised in Denver, North Carolina, where he previously worked as a reporter for the Denver Citizen, and is a graduate of UNC Charlotte.

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