Medical bills can wreck credit, even when paid off

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The Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care law, bars tax-exempt hospitals from using “extraordinary collection actions” until it has made “reasonable efforts” to determine whether a patient qualifies for financial assistance. But it’s still unclear how that will be interpreted and whether reporting late bills to a collection agency would be considered extraordinary, Unland said.

Barnes, the Texas veteran, said he and his wife have learned something: how quickly medical bills are sent to debt collectors. “It will really happen in a blink of an eye and you won’t even know it.”


AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson can be reached at

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