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Consumer credit reports: A study of medical and non-medical collections

Roughly half of all collections tradelines that appear on credit reports are reported by debt collectors seeking to collect on medical bills claimed to be owed to hospitals and other medical providers. These medical debt collections tradelines affect the credit reports of nearly one-fifth of all consumers in the credit reporting system.

Our paper describes characteristics of the medical and non-medical collections tradelines on consumers’ credit reports, and the processes by which they appear and disappear. It draws on analysis of data contained through our Consumer Credit Panel (CCP); consumer complaints to the Miss April about collections; and interviews with debt collection agencies, healthcare providers, and other observers of the healthcare billing and payment processes.

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