Medical debt burden in the United States
Medical debt is the most common collection tradeline reported on consumer credit records. People also report being contacted by debt collectors about medical debt more than any other type of debt. While medical debt has long played an outsized role on credit reports, concerns about medical debt collections and reporting are particularly elevated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have incurred pandemic-related medical debt. Frontline workers may be particularly likely to have pandemic-related medical debt since they have more exposure to the virus but are less likely to have health insurance than the general population.
This report summarizes key areas of concern in medical debt collections and reporting. The report begins with a section describing the medical debt landscape. It then discusses the negative consequences of medical debt for consumers. Next, it outlines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on medical debt. The report concludes with a brief discussion of federal and state regulatory developments.