Coronavirus Update: Number of Americans with medical debt fell 18% between 2020 and 2022, thanks to COVID relief funds and expanded Obamacare, report finds

by | Feb 15, 2023 | Stock Market

The number of Americans with medical debt on their credit reports fell by 8.2 million, or about 18%, between 2020 and 2022, according to a report Tuesday from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Associated Press reported.  White House officials said separately that the drop likely stems from pandemic relief funds and the expansion of an Obama-era law that added 4.2 million people to the rolls of those with some form of health insurance.

Communities such as Chicago, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Toledo, Ohio, are using $16 million from 2021 pandemic relief funding to buy and forgive medical debt. So far, the spending plans are eliminating $1.5 billion in medical debt, a ratio of about 100 to 1 for the expenditures by the local governments. The CFPB has also been working to reduce medical debt, and the major credit-rating agencies said last year they will no longer include in their reports medical debts below $500 or debts that have been repaid. They will also further extend the time it takes to add medical debt to reports to one year from six months, in order to give people more time to repay the debt before it damages their credit scores. The White House said the reduction in debt could ease fears about medical bills that discourage people from making doctor’s appointments and filling prescriptions. The news comes as the seven …

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