Credit reports hold a lot of valuable information about us and our day-to-day. They show our paying history, our debt, our loans, bills that we have, or haven’t, paid on time, and the number of credit cards or accounts that we have opened up under our name. While credit reports can be a great asset, they also can contain information that can prove to make purchases or obtaining loans a lot more difficult.

So, what is the process of how items get reported on your credit report? If you have bills that are outstanding, after a certain period of time, the company that you owe money to may move forward in reporting your non-payment to the credit bureaus. This varies by company.  Some companies report missed payments fairly quickly, while others wait for different durations of time before reporting. And even though an item gets reported it can still take some time before that ding may show up on your credit report.

Unpaid medical bills are no exception to this rule. If you have an unpaid medical bill, chances are that it will end up being sent to collections. While it can seem unfair and unjustified at times, it is still a bill that is owed that you are required to pay.  Is there truly a way to remove medical collections that have made a negative mark on your credit report?  While nothing is guaranteed, you may have luck with trying the option below:

Contact the collection agency and talk to them. Ask them the options if you are able to pay the bill directly in full to them. Find out if there is a way to get that ding removed from your credit report for that unpaid bill. You have a 50/50 chance here, but it’s worth asking.  While they aren’t required to remove the mark from your credit report, what would the harm be in just asking them to consider doing so?  If this is your first time of having a bill go to collections, then talk to them about that and see how the conversation goes.  You may be surprised by the outcome.

Always double-check and make certain that the bill that is being reported to the credit agency is valid and accurate. Check the dates, the amounts and ask to see the history of when you were notified that you had a bill, and then what steps were then taken after that initial notice to try to follow-up to get that bill paid for. Keep a detailed log of your conversations during this time to be able to refer back to later, if needed.

To avoid having a medical bill go to collections in the first place, be proactive and contact the healthcare provider and ask about setting up a payment plan. While this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the bill won’t be sent to collections, it does show the provider that you are making a good effort in wanting to take the steps to get the bill paid.

When it comes to unpaid bills and collection agencies, communication is key. Have your facts ready and your questions prepared, and try to find a solution to work together for a positive outcome.

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