CFPB Announces Nursing Home Debt Collection Hearing, Analyzes Connection Between Hospital Financial Assistance and Medical Debt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced it will hold a field hearing on September 8 on the topic of Nursing Home Debt Collection Practices while also releasing a report that analyzes the connection between financial assistance for medical care and medical collections.

The field hearing will be held virtually and will feature Rohit Chopra, the Director of the CFPB, along with advocates, service providers, community leaders, and members of the public. The objective is to “explore challenges around nursing home debt collection practices and the impact they can have on the financial wellbeing of caregivers, their families, and friends.” Anyone who is interested in attending can do so by clicking here.

At the same time, the CFPB published a report that even with policies put in place under the Affordable Care Act, policies which require nonprofit hospitals to take certain steps before collecting on unpaid debts, “a large percentage of low-income consumers” still had medical debts appearing on their credit reports back in 2018, which is when the data was collected.

More than 27% of individuals making less than $20,000 a year had at least one medical debt item on their credit report, according to the CFPB’s analysis, which is three times higher than the rate for those making between $70,000 and $100,00 per year.

The report also notes that changes announced by the credit reporting agencies with regard to not including medical debt collections below $500 on consumers’ credit reports will likely not help low-income consumers because their bills exceed that threshold. Nearly half of consumers making less than $40,000 per year had at least one collection item for more than $500 on their credit report, according to the CFPB. “Collections like these will continue to weigh on consumers’ credit outcomes,” according to the report. “Credit reporting changes notwithstanding, access to financial assistance will continue to be important for the lowest income households.”

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