It is no surprise in our broken economic system that medical bills are the number one reason for financial hardship for the average American consumer. It is also not surprising that in our corrupt economic system that the number one complaint reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2021 had to do with debt collectors harassing consumers over medical debts that did not belong to them. More than half of all medical debt collection complaints involve the debt collection of bills that do not belong to consumers. When you consider that more than 20% of all consumers carry a level of medical debt that will likely push them into bankruptcy, the amount of fraudulent debt collections is staggering.
A natural consequence of this is that these debt collectors are attacking consumer by going after their credit scores. Most consumers don't know they have a medical debt until they get rejected for credit and find out that a debt collector is reporting the medical debt on their credit reports.
The CFPB reported than 750,000 complaints in 2021 and found out some interesting things.
- The median medical debt is around $500 per person
- Most medical debt collection notices come from medical providers that consumers have never heard of.
- Medical debt collection notices often contain sensitive personal medical information that should not be disclosed in a debt collection notice.
- Most consumers pay these bills just to avoid a drop in credit score, even if they don't owe the money.
- Low-income and minority communities are most likely to face fraudulent debt collections for medical debt and lower credit scores.
This fraudulent scheme is only made possible by credit reporting agencies that allow their reports to easily be weaponized against people. The fact that the debt isn't legitimate doesn't matter because once they report it your score will go down. Yes, there are ways to fight this through Florida Consumer Lawyers, but for the majority of American consumers they just want to move forward with their lives and cannot experience a disruption in credit scores since they need those scores just to make ends meet.
The system is broken and corrupt and the fact that bad actors like these debt collection companies and credit reporting agencies are allowed to act as they do without catastrophic consequences to their business is an injustice to all consumers.