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SOUTH CAROLINA
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New hope for residents struggling with medical debt

South Carolina residents overwhelmed by medical debt could see help on the horizon. Some senators have joined together and penned a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The letter focuses on consumers affected by inaccurate information being provided to credit rating services. The information detrimentally affects people with medical debt, potentially hurting their job prospects and drastically lowering their credit ratings.

Medical debt affects people all across the nation, even those who have medical insurance. In those cases, sometimes medical bills are sent to a collection agency prior to the consumer even realizing they owe money. This has the potentially to detrimentally affect their credit scores, sometimes causing a strike as significant as 100 points, which can affect the consumer for up to seven years.

Recently, some medical providers have been accused of taking debt collection actions before attempting to solve a problem by communicating with the people who owe the bill. The four senators who wrote the letter are also involved with the Medical Debt Responsibility Act, a piece of legislation that could potentially require credit reporting agencies to remove settled or paid medical debt within 45 days. Even if such an action is politically motivated, it stands to help people all over the country deal with their medical debt in a fair way.

South Carolina consumers experiencing credit problems due to medical debt have options available to alleviate a heavy debt load. Medical bills are considered to be dischargeable under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When someone is suffering from a medical issue, the last thing they need is to be overwhelmed by hospital bills piling up. Such debt can lead to harassing phone calls or even a pay garnishment. People suffering from stressful medical debt may want to consider the option of bankruptcy before their debt load becomes too overwhelming.

Source: Healthtechzone.com, "Senators Want Medical Debt Reporting to be Part of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau," Steve Anderson, Aug. 6, 2012

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