Text of the Medical Debt Responsibility Act of 2012

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 1, 2012 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2149

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 1, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Brown of Ohio, Mr. Durbin, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Schumer, and Mr. Harkin) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

A BILL

To exclude from consumer credit reports medical debt that has been in collection and has been fully paid or settled, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Medical Debt Responsibility Act of 2012.

2.

Findings and purpose

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

medical debt is unique, and Americans do not choose when accidents happen or when illness strikes;

(2)

medical debt collection issues affect both insured and uninsured consumers;

(3)

according to credit evaluators, medical debt collections are more likely to be in dispute, inconsistently reported, and of questionable value in predicting future payment performance because it is atypical and nonpredictive;

(4)

nevertheless, medical debt that has been completely paid off or settled can significantly damage the credit score of a consumer for years;

(5)

as a result, consumers may be denied credit or pay higher interest rates when buying a home or obtaining a credit card;

(6)

healthcare providers are increasingly turning to outside collection agencies to help secure payment from patients, coming at the expense of the consumer, because medical debts are not typically reported unless they become assigned to collections;

(7)

in fact, medical bills account for more than half of all non-credit related collection actions reported to consumer credit reporting agencies;

(8)

the issue of medical debt affects millions of consumers;

(9)

according to the Commonwealth Fund, medical bill problems or accrued medical debt affects roughly 73,000,000 working-age adults in America; and

(10)

in 2010, 30,000,000 working-age American adults were contacted by a collection agency for unpaid medical bills.

(b)

Purpose

It is the purpose of this Act to exclude from consumer credit reports medical debt that had been characterized as debt in collection for credit reporting purposes and has been fully paid or settled.

3.

Amendments to fair credit reporting Act

(a)

Medical debt defined

Section 603 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681a) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(z)

Medical debt

The term medical debt means a debt described in section 604(g)(1)(C).

.

(b)

Exclusion for paid or settled medical debt

Section 605(a) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. 1681c(a)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(7)

Any information related to a fully paid or settled medical debt that had been characterized as delinquent, charged off, or in collection which, from the date of payment or settlement, antedates the report by more than 45 days.

.