Some Arizona residents may have experience dealing with different forms of medical debt. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, recently published research indicates that having medical debt may inadvertently cause lenders to underestimate someone's credit worthiness. Another study performed by the Federal Reserve Board is said to have found that more than half of all collections in credit reports are associated with medical debt.
Arizona is home to many older people who may find themselves with seemingly overwhelming medical costs from hospitalization or surgery. Although the Affordable Care Act increased access to medical insurance for many individuals and families, a 2013 study stated that unpaid medical bills were the top reason for bankruptcy filings. That means healthcare forced more people into filing for protection from creditors than did mortgage debt or credit card debt.
In the wake of growing concerns about healthcare, lawmakers are working to create legislation governing the way healthcare providers collect debts. Providers and debt collectors are aware of this push, resulting in a joint effort by the two largest organizations behind these professions to create proposed best practices for collecting debt incurred from medical expenses. Those two organizations recently presented the proposed standards to members. A Medical Debt Task Force made up of representatives from both of these organizations, medical providers, credit bureaus, credit agencies and patient advocate organizations created the proposal, which will not be mandatory but is expected to become standard.