Medical debt, collection agencies and CFPB

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July 20, 2022 11:21 a.m. ET


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In “Credit Reports Remove Some Old Medical Debt” (Personal Journal, July 12), John McNamara of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reportedly said that debt collectors will remove medical debts when consumers ask them because they have little confidence in their accuracy. It’s not true.

Collection agencies work with reputable healthcare providers to ensure accurate billing. ACA International is the association of credit and collection professionals. Members use comprehensive compliance programs to ensure that only legally owed debts are reported. We recognize the complexity of healthcare, including complicated insurance. ACA members have strong controls to respond to legitimate disputes and mitigate errors.

The CFPB’s assertion that inaccurate amounts are reported as coercive action is, again, false. The CFPB did not provide any data to support this claim. The free market has no incentive for such illegal behavior. If this were common practice, healthcare providers would stop working with collection agencies, and we would incur significant legal liability. There is no proof either.

Arbitrary changes hurt patients. Delaying reporting to one year allows insurance companies to deny claims for untimely filing. This, and failing to report debts below $500, negatively affects healthcare providers’ incomes, reducing access to care for low-income people as providers shift to upfront payments. more important. Congress did not provide for unelected CFPB staff to make health policy decisions; it’s a slippery slope. Americans deserve more access to affordable health care, not less.

Scott Purcell

CEO, ACA International

Washington

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Appeared in the July 21, 2022 print edition.


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