The U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill, H.R. 1773, that seeks to amend the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The proposed amendment would include a two-year bar on the collection of medical debts from the date first payment on the debt is due.

The bill was introduced by Michigan Representative Rashida Tlaib (D) and has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

If enacted, the bill would require material changes to the collection of medical debts, the most common type of third-party collection, and provide further protection to consumers with medical debts. First, the bill would expand the definition of medical debt within the FDCPA to “debt arising from the receipt of medical services, products or devices.” Second, the bill would add a subsection to § 1692f of the FDCPA prohibiting collectors from collecting on a medical debt within two years of the date payment is first due.

Representative Rashida Tlaib commented on the proposed bill stating, “treating medical debt the same as other debt is not right and leads to irreparable harm to residents who simply just needed health and medical care.”

We will continue to monitor developments, if and when the bill is submitted for a vote. Debt collectors would be wise to do the same as the implications directly affect a large portion of their business.