Medical collections can cause serious damage to your credit. Even worse, because medical bills can be sent to collections without notice, they can sometimes appear on your credit report seemingly out of nowhere. 1
If a medical debt just showed up on your credit report, don’t panic. It’s possible the charges are inaccurate or don’t belong to you. If this happens, you need to get them removed from your credit history so they don’t hurt your credit score, which you can do with the letter below.
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Downloadable letter for disputing medical bills on your credit report
A dispute letter for removing medical bills from your credit report is similar to a standard credit dispute letter.
In your letter, you’ll tell the credit bureaus that:
- The medical bill shouldn’t be in your credit history
- You want the matter investigated
- If the bill is unverifiable, you want the associated medical collections removed from your credit report immediately
You can use the free templates below to create your letter. Keep reading to learn how to customize it to your circumstances.
Sample medical dispute letter templates
Which template should you use?
This type of letter is primarily intended to file credit disputes with the credit bureaus, so you should almost always download and send the first letter given above.
If the error originated with the bureaus themselves (e.g., they confused your debt with someone else’s), that might be the only one you have to send. However, it’s also possible that your debt collector made the error by mistakenly reporting the debt, in which case you should also download and send the second letter as well.
In fact, sending a dispute letter comes with essentially no downsides (except for the cost of the postage, which is relatively small), so there’s no reason not to download and send both of the templates above.
How to write a medical bill dispute letter to the credit bureaus
Use the medical bill dispute letter template above and replace the bracketed placeholders with your personal information.
Keep your letter short and simple—there’s no need to get into specifics about medical treatments or diagnoses. That information is your business, and isn’t relevant to your dispute.
What to include with a medical bill dispute letter
Make sure to include documentation that supports your claim that the medical bill shouldn’t be on your credit report. If you don’t, then you risk having your dispute rejected. If that happens, you’ll have to go through the whole process again.
Here are examples of evidence you may need to win your medical credit dispute:
- Billing statements from your healthcare provider proving that you paid the debt
- Payment records from your health insurance company showing that they covered it
- Copies of correspondences with the debt collection agency, your healthcare provider, and/or your health insurance company showing that records should be changed
- Police report or Federal Trade Commission identity theft report showing that the medical charges were fraudulent
- Documents proving that your personal information does not match the details attached to the medical bill
Where should you send your medical dispute letter?
Send your dispute letter to all of the credit bureaus that are reporting the medical bill on your credit report that you want to remove. As mentioned, it’s also a good idea to send a copy to the debt collection agency in question to minimize the back-and-forth required between the bureaus, the debt collector, and yourself.
You can find the addresses of the credit bureaus in the table below.
Credit Bureau Mailing Information
|Where to send your dispute letter||Experian|
P.O. Box 4500
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 740256
Atlanta, GA 30374-0256
|TransUnion Consumer Solutions
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016-2000
|Dispute online||Experian's online dispute form||Equifax’s online dispute form||TransUnion’s online dispute form|
What happens after you send a medical collection dispute letter
After you’ve mailed a medical bill dispute letter to each of the credit reporting agencies publishing your medical collections, all you need to do is wait.
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the credit bureaus have 30 days (sometimes up to 45) to process disputes. 2
If the credit reporting agencies find your claim to be valid or they can’t verify that you owe the medical debt, they will remove it from your credit reports.
During the 1–2 months after you submit your medical bill credit dispute, check your credit reports regularly for updates. You can request free copies of all your credit reports either directly from the credit bureaus or at AnnualCreditReport.com.
What to do if your medical dispute letter doesn’t work
If your credit dispute is rejected or you’re unhappy with the outcome, then you have a couple of options for how to move forward:
- Dispute the medical bill again (with more evidence): Disputes are sometimes dismissed because the credit bureaus were unable to verify your claim due to a lack of supporting evidence. Find out what documents you’re missing and try sending another dispute letter.
- Consult a lawyer: If you’re sure that a medical bill shouldn’t be on your credit reports but the credit bureaus and your debt collection agency refuse to fix the mistake, you can consult with an attorney to see if your rights have been violated. If so, you might be able to sue to have the problem resolved once and for all.
- Add a statement of dispute to your credit reports: If all else fails, you can add a consumer statement to your credit reports explaining your side of the story for future lenders to see. This will be of limited value—it’s possible that your future creditors won’t even notice it—but it’s better than nothing. You can add dispute statements by contacting Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
Are medical bills on your credit report a violation of HIPAA?
There’s a pervasive belief that when debt collectors report medical bills to the credit bureaus, they’re violating your rights under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The truth is, HIPAA allows healthcare organizations to share certain information with third parties (including debt collectors and even people you know) for the purpose of collecting payment for their services. 5 Debt collectors are then allowed to report this information to the credit bureaus.
Information that debt collectors can legally share under HIPAA
Specifically, here’s what debt collectors are allowed to disclose about your medical debts: 4
- Date of birth
- Social Security number (SSN)
- Payment history
- Account number
The truth about HIPAA violation dispute letters: do they ever work?
You may have heard that sending a HIPAA dispute letter or HIPAA violation letter to a medical debt collection agency can get them to remove collections from your credit report.
For the reasons described above, this isn’t an effective approach. When debt collectors report your medical collections to the credit bureaus, they aren’t doing anything illegal.
However, there is one case when sending a HIPAA violation letter might work. If a debt collector really did violate your rights under HIPAA in a different way—for instance, by disclosing more information than what we’ve listed above—then threatening to sue them might pressure them into agreeing to delete their records of your medical collections.
However, this strategy is a long shot. If you’re considering it, you should consult with an attorney beforehand rather than trying to do it on your own.
How the No Surprises Act can help you delete medical collections
Even though HIPAA won’t stop medical debt from showing up on your credit reports, the No Surprises Act might. This is a federal law that was introduced in January 2022 to protect patients from the financial burden and credit damage that comes with surprise medical bills.
The No Surprises Act requires healthcare providers to give a good faith estimate of medical expenses for people whose care isn’t covered by insurance. If you’re charged $400+ more than the estimate, you can dispute the medical charges directly with your provider. 6
Debt collection agencies aren’t supposed to report information about medical debts covered by the No Surprises Act. 7 If they do, mention this violation in your credit dispute letter and file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Other ways to dispute medical bills
Sending a dispute letter like the one above is your best option for removing medical bills from your credit report.
However, it’s not the only way to dispute medical bills. You can also file a different type of dispute letter with your debt collector, or take the matter up with your original healthcare provider themselves.
If your dispute letter fails, you can also try these other methods to get the medical bill off your credit report:
Send a medical debt verification letter to your debt collector
When a debt collector contacts you, you always have the right to dispute the collection account by demanding evidence that you owe the debt in question. To do this, you can send the debt collection agency a document called a debt verification letter.
Just find out which debt collection agency owns your debt and use the template below to send them a letter.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), as long as you send your debt verification letter within 30 days of receiving a debt validation notice from the debt collection agency, they won’t be allowed to pursue payments from you until they provide you with proof that you owe the medical bill.
If they can’t dig up proof, they’ll have to stop trying to collect the debt indefinitely.
Request an itemized bill from your healthcare provider
Billing errors happen all too often in the healthcare industry. It’s always a good idea to ask for a summary of medical charges, regardless of how big the bill is. However, when your medical costs are higher than you expected or you can’t afford to pay, auditing your bill is particularly crucial.
You can request an itemized medical bill by contacting your healthcare provider either by mail or phone. Ask them to send you the cost breakdown in writing so that you can carefully review the details and use it as evidence in future disputes.
Check the charges on your medical bill against an explanation of benefits (EOB) for your health insurance. If you spot any items you were charged for that your insurance company should’ve covered, you can ask the medical center or clinic to transfer the charges to your insurance company.