8

Let me explain a little more. I was the victim of a car accident and medical bills went through the roof. I had about $16k racked up, then my settlement finally kicked in 3 years later and paid it all off (except for that pesky $8). What happened was when we queried the debt from the hospital I went to, they somehow missed that $8 (out of the $16k) and sent it to collections. This all happened about 4 years ago. I didn't receive any letters in the mail for some reason as well. I did a credit check a few months ago to get a car loan, and my banker found the collection. I need to get rid of it, because a job I want to apply for also looks at my credit.

Should I pay it off?
I would not like it to be on my credit history...
Can I dispute it since they failed to bill me for it in the first place?

  • 1
    This is US or another country? – Joe Nov 3 '15 at 5:31
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    Justin I want you to take what I am about to say to heart. There is no hell anywhere else in the universe like the hell that dealing with the credit bureaus is. Even if you are able to get the hospital to remove the debt, which you won't because it's a legitimate charge regardless if they told you about it or not, they will deny it. EVEN IF you walk to the credit bureau with a hand signed note from the hospital tattooed on your arm, it will remain. Just pay the collection, wait the time, move on with life. All is lost lol. – Anthony Russell Nov 3 '15 at 11:31
  • This is US. California Specifically. – Justin C. Nov 3 '15 at 18:54
12

Contact the creditor, explain the situation, and if they agree to take it off your credit be sure to get it in writing from them. If they fail to remove it you can use the letter to petition the credit bureau.

If they don't agree to remove it from your credit, don't pay it now. It will reset the timer on how long the negative mark can remain on your credit report.

  • Awesome, thanks! I looked through my credit report and I couldn't find the creditors contact information. Is there a surefire way to get contact information from a creditor? I would rather not run a credit check again to get that information. I do not live in the same city as the creditor anymore, and I don't remember which hospital it was (since I went to a few) – Justin C. Nov 3 '15 at 0:19
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    One strategy is to dispute the charge. The creditor has to provide documentation or take it off your report when you do this. It might not be worth it for them to justify $8 even if it is a valid debt. – JohnFx Nov 3 '15 at 1:11
  • Great, I will try this strategy first. Hopefully this is not worth it to them. – Justin C. Nov 3 '15 at 19:02
13

Mostly agree with JohnFX here, but one difference perhaps worth considering.

Since it's medical debt, once it's paid off it should not hurt your credit any more, as long as it's reported paid. (This differs from non-medical debt, which will remain for seven years even after being paid.)

For example, existing medical debt defaults that finally get paid — whether by the insurer or the patient — will be deleted.

So the debt should go away naturally once it's reported paid - but do make sure the collector will report it paid, preferably before paying it (while you have some leverage). Do so in writing, as JohnFX notes; but also make sure to simply get a receipt for the payment - that will also help your case (since medical debt is removed once paid).

  • Good stuff man thanks! I am well past the 180 day waiting period though. Will it still apply to me? – Justin C. Nov 3 '15 at 19:00
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    That's a separate thing. Medical bills don't show up until 180 days, and they are removed as soon as they are paid. That's because the various agencies (like Fair Isaac) have found that medical bills aren't very useful for predicting future behavior - so they're trying to make them as limited as possible in how much effect they have on the score. – Joe Nov 3 '15 at 19:07

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