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Life and Debt: Getting the hospital bill

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks on medical debt in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivers remarks on medical debt in the South Court Auditorium of the White House in Washington, DC.

We can’t blame anyone that gets a little nervous heading into a clinic or hospital. It’s the poking and prodding, sticking out your tongue to “say ah” – and getting the bill.  

TheConsumer Financial Protection Bureaureported last year that there’s around $88 billion of medical debt in collections, and about 43 million Americans have medical debt on their credit report. 

Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – three major credit reporting companies in the U.S. – have eased how much medical debt impacts someone’s credit score. The companies no longer include medical debt that is paid off or less than a year old on a report.

But a medical bill can be plenty stressful before it goes to a debt collector. People often turn to crowdfunding sources like GoFundMe to help pay those costs when they get them.

Our series Life and Debt looks at the different ways debt shows up in our lives. We put together a panel to discuss medical debt in the U.S. and how we deal with it.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

Jorgelina Manna-Rea