The New York legislature has passed a bill that would prohibit medical debts from being reported to credit reporting agencies, while also requiring that any collection entities which purchase or collect on medical debt are held to the same standard. The bill now proceeds to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her signature or veto.
A copy of the proposed legislation, A6275, the “Fair Medical Debt Reporting Act” can be accessed by clicking here. The bill was sponsored by Assembly Member Amy Paulin and state Sen. Gustavo Rivera.
Consumer advocates applauded the bill’s passage and encouraged Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign the bill into law.
“Medical debt is a serious problem that creates a crushing burden for many New Yorkers and unfairly undermines their financial security,” said Chuck Bell, advocacy program director for Consumer Reports, in a statement. “A bad credit record can make it much more expensive or impossible for a patient to rent a home, buy a car or home, or secure a loan. This bill protects the right of New Yorkers to obtain the health care services they need without fear of having their credit records unfairly ruined.”
If signed into law, New York would follow Colorado as the only states that have banned the reporting of medical debt on consumers’ credit reports.
The bill defines medial debt to include healthcare services, products, or devices provided to a person by a hospital, healthcare provider, or ambulance service. The definition does not include medical debt charged to a credit card unless the card is issued under an open-ended or closed-end plan offered specifically for the payment of healthcare services, products, or devices.
Any healthcare debt that is reported to a credit reporting agency would be void if the bill becomes law.