September 29, 2023 — Featured News

Appearing in The New York Times on September 29, 2023, Ann Carrns talks to Chi Chi Wu about how people struggling with unpaid medical bills may soon have that debt erased from their credit reports.

If you lack health insurance, check to see if you qualify for coverage under Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people, or ask if you qualify for patient assistance programs that can reduce the amount you owe, said Chi Chi Wu, a senior attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. Nonprofit hospitals are required to offer the programs to maintain their tax-exempt status, she said, but criteria vary and some hospitals may make it burdensome to enroll.

Be cautious, Ms. Wu said, if a provider offers you special financing to pay your medical bill. These credit cards sometimes come with deferred interest, which can greatly increase the amount you owe if you don’t pay off the bill by a certain deadline.

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