On August 16, seven Democrat senators proposed a bill (S.3351, named the “Medical Debt Relief Act of 2018”) to amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to cover certain provisions related to the collection of medical-related debt. The proposed act would institute a 180-day waiting period under the FCRA before medical debt could be reported on a person’s credit report. Further, medical debt that has been settled or paid off would be required to be removed from a person’s credit report within 45 days of payment or settlement.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Banking Committee for consideration. The senators introducing the bill were Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).
The bill targeted Section 1692(g) of the FDCPA specifically and would require debt collectors to send a statement to individuals that includes a notification that:
(1) the debt may not be reported to a credit bureau for 180 days from the date in which the statement is sent, and
(2) if the debt is settled or paid by the individual or an insurance agency during the 180-day period, the debt may not be reported to a consumer reporting agency.
Troutman Sanders will continue to monitor these developments and provide any further updates as they are available.