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Do Medical Bills Affect Credit? Here’s Everything You Need to Know…

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There about 6,000 hospitals across the United States that serve millions of people every year. Many of those people will receive treatment for whatever serious illnesses they have and later find they can’t pay their medical bills.

What happens when people go delinquent on their medical expenses? Do medical bills affect credit? Are there effective ways people can be proactive when managing medical debt?

All of those questions and more are answered in the post below. If you’re curious to learn more about how to navigate the ever-rising costs of medical care, keep reading to become a more informed consumer!

Do Medical Bills Affect Credit?

We’ve heard several people debate our post’s key question, “Do medical bills affect credit?” The answer to that question is yes and no.

People that go to the doctor’s office or hospital receive medical bills for services rendered. The simple act of receiving that bill does not adversely affect your credit.

Only if you exceed your bill’s time frame without payment (usually by a wide margin) will your medical office get tired of harassing you and send your bill to collections. That’s when you’ll get a bad mark on your credit.

What Is Collections?

Collections is a short-hand term for “collections agency.” Collections agencies are private businesses that buy debt off of companies and people at a reduced rate and then work to recollect a portion of that debt from delinquent parties so they can turn a profit.

For example, if you owe your doctor’s office $1000 and don’t pay it, your doctor may cut their losses and sell your debt to an agency for $200. The agency would then chase you down for the $1000 but will settle for anything above $200.

When Do Bills Go to Collections?

This depends on your doctor’s invoice terms and patience. Typically, medical offices will give patients anywhere from 30 to 90 days to make good on their bills.

Medical offices may choose to pursue payment long after 90 days to not have to sell your debt at a discount to an agency. Others may immediately sell your debt after your allotted time frame has lapsed.

How Long Will Bad Bills Stay on Your Record?

A medical bill that ends up with collections and shows up as a dark mark on your credit report won’t subside if/when you pay a collections agency.

Bad marks on your credit can sit on your report for over a half-decade. What’s worse is that bad marks on your credit pertaining to missed payments have the largest impact on your overall credit score.

Ways to Avoid Medical Bills Going Bad

Medical billing headaches stemming from delinquent payments can be avoided with some work. Here are a few tips on how you may be able to avoid and manage bill delinquency.

Start Investing in an HSA

If you’re employed full-time, your employer may give you access to an HSA account. An HSA is a tax-exempt Health Savings Account that you can shelter money in and withdraw from for free in order to pay for health expenses.

By putting money in your HSA, you’ll build an emergency fund that you can call upon if you come up against a difficult medical bill. You’ll also lower your taxable income by placing money there which may save you thousands if you end up falling into a lower tax bracket.

Opt for Affordable Treatment

Shopping around when receiving medical treatment isn’t always an option. When it is though, take the time to see who’s offering what prices and go with a medical provider that has rates you can manage.

While there are sometimes viable options to get a loan or obtain special financing for certain procedures, your goal should be to find rates that are feasible for you to pay for without incurring debt.

Get Quality Medical Insurance

People that are in low-income brackets in America almost certainly qualify for free healthcare through their state or the federal Medicare/Medicaid program. Enter your information on healthcare.gov and the portal will let you know what sort of help you can get and how to obtain it.

If you’re worried that you make too much money to qualify for free medical insurance, help may still be available. The federal government helps middle-class families with “premium tax credits” that offset the cost of health care, in-part. These tax credits can be claimed in April when you file taxes or can be pre-paid to your account each month when you pay your premium.

Armed with good health insurance, you’ll be able to side-step steep medical expenses in the future.

Negotiate Your Bills

Many people don’t know this but private practice medical institutions sometimes have wiggle room in the rates they charge. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on certain services to see if the doctor you’re working with will help you out.

A quick question could save you hundreds on treatments.

Work Out a Payment Plan With Your Doctor

Most doctors don’t want to sell your bill to collections since they’ll only receive a portion of what you owe them. A doctor will be much more open to working out a payment plan with you.

If you feel you’re not going to be able to manage your bills, ask your doctor if you can pay them back monthly. In that scenario, they get paid and you get to avoid a bad mark on your credit.

Your Credit Is Worth Protecting

Don’t be the person that throws your hands up, lets bills go to collections, and allows your credit to take a hit. Believe us when we say that bad credit is expensive and can limit your opportunities in life.

Your credit is worth protecting!

Use our guide to be an informed consumer and if you have more questions like “do medical bills affect credit?”, please explore additional information on our blog.

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A Look Back At Housing 2020: Relief, Reality, And Rationality

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National Geographic has a series called Seconds From Disaster that, according to it’s website, uses “ Advanced computer graphics, forensic science, eyewitness accounts, interviews with experts, archival footage and re-enactments [to] piece together in great detail the events that led to some of the biggest disasters of modern time.” My last few posts remind me of the series; the housing market in the United States really is seconds from disaster at least figuratively. What can stop this from becoming a disaster of government run and rationed housing? The answer is relief, reality, and rationality.

Relief

It’s simple. When you tell people they can’t go to restaurants and bars those businesses can’t make any money and they lay off employees. When those employees don’t get a paycheck they can’t pay rent. Assuming that this intervention – shutting down the economy – is the right thing to do, wouldn’t it make sense to help the people most impacted by replacing some or all of that lost income?

Instead, what government has done is ban eviction. That makes no sense. If people needed food, you wouldn’t advise the suspension of shoplifting laws so people could help themselves to groceries at the local market, you’d get them cash for groceries or you would distribute them to people in need. As I’ve already pointed out, eviction bans are a time bomb of unpaid rent.

Government can solve this problem by having lenders give fast cash to housing providers who have residents with unpaid rent. It would be a forgivable loan and could be settled up in the months ahead with rent rolls and balance sheets submitted and a promise not to try and collect back rent if a loan is made. The wrong thing to do would be to have government distribute the relief; government isn’t set up to give out money, banks are.

Reality

Marriages, car loans, and businesses arrangements sometimes fail. Courts exist to adjudicate disputes that arise when transactions don’t work out. Eviction is no different. The vast majority of rental relationships between housing providers and their customers work out fine. Sometimes there is friction. Sometimes the housing provider is a bad actor. Sometimes the resident is. Housing providers don’t make money by evicting people any more than a bar makes money by throwing out its customers.

Contrary to the hype, eviction is rare in the United States and when it happens it is very expensive, complicated, and usually resolved without a sheriff putting the contents of a rental unit on the sidewalk. I did an analysis of hyped eviction data from Seattle and the actual removals in one year were vanishingly small, just .7 percent of all rental housing. How many of these 1,200 removals were because of bad actors? How many were the product of lost jobs? We don’t know because that data isn’t tracked. What’s important is eliminating the causes of eviction; especially poverty, mental health issues, and addiction all issues that when combined do lead to serious issues that impact housing. Making eviction more difficult helps eviction defense attorneys not residents short on cash or having complex problems.

Rationality

Maybe it’s not the best or the right term, but most human beings are rational actors in any economy. If prices go up, people find substitutes for products with higher prices. If they can’t find a substitute, they make due and change their lives around to get what they need. At the same time, producers strive to get a product to market that meets consumer demand at a lower price. This isn’t ideology it is how the world works. Price sends important signals to people on how to behave, innovate, challenge the status quo, and propose changes. Price isn’t a bad thing it is our best friend.

When housing prices go up, yes, it is because there isn’t enough. I’ve heard very smart people – much smarter than me – dispute this. “It is much more complicated than that,” they say. Well, it isn’t. It is that simple. Smart people don’t like three piece puzzles or crosswords with simple clues. Why go to Harvard or Yale or start a lab at Princeton if housing problems were so simple I could solve them. It’s this kind of lens through which government and experts survey the “housing crisis.”

Avoiding Disaster

A loftier image I often use is that of the Trojan horse, one that has become a trope for ignoring the obvious. Take people’s income away for a good reason then replace that income. Want to avoid the consequences of poverty – like bad credit, evictions, and housing cost burden – work to eliminate poverty. And if you want people to solve problems creatively, get out of their way; they can usually figure out the solution and if you can help, do it.

The fact that housing is a commodity is not the problem. The housing problem is worsened when government and non-profits decide to get in the way of buyers and sellers of housing with rules intended to protect consumers but instead become a proxy for incumbents who see their equity rise with limited supply. We should not subsidize that self imposed scarcity; instead we should encourage more housing everywhere of all kinds for people of all levels of income.

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Maryland Auto Insurance review 2020

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Formerly known as Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, Maryland Auto Insurance was created by the state of Maryland to keep the state’s drivers on the road legally. They offer a transitional solution to uninsured drivers in Maryland and will not turn anyone away, especially those who have a poor credit history, are high-risk drivers and have been denied coverage from other providers.

To help you decide if they are the right provider for you, we have broken down all the details about the types of insurance it offers, available discounts to help you save and how it differs from other providers in the area.

Maryland Auto Insurance

Maryland Auto Insurance provides a broad range of coverages and discounts to meet most driver’s unique needs.

Types of Coverage

The company’s standard car insurance policies cover the minimum amount of insurance required by Maryland law, including:

  • Liability: The minimum amount of liability coverage required by Maryland Law is $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
  • Uninsured motorist: The minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage required by Maryland law is $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident and $15,000 for property damage.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): Maryland law requires insurers to offer their policyholders at least $2,500 in PIP coverage.

The provider will not deny coverage to anyone, as long as they:

  • Are a Maryland resident
  • Own an automobile registered in Maryland OR have a valid Maryland driver’s license
  • Have been canceled or not renewed by a standard insurer for a reason other than non-payment of premium OR have been refused insurance by two (2) standard insurers
  • Do not owe Maryland Auto any unpaid premium.

It also offers additional coverage options like:

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Towing
  • Rental Car

Cost of Maryland Auto Insurance Car Insurance

Maryland Auto Insurance determines premiums based on risk level, vehicle type, driving experience, location, amount of coverage needs and several other factors. Consumers can request a personalized quote on their website.

One thing that differentiates this insurance provider from others is that they do not factor in credit history when determining the premium, which can help those with bad credit save money.

On average, Maryland drivers can expect to pay the following depending on their insurance coverage selections:

Minimum Coverage Full Coverage
$1,278 $3,764

Discounts

Because this provider is a transitional option designed for drivers who can’t get insurance elsewhere, there are few discounts available. However, they do offer some ways to save money on an auto policy.

Reasons Why Maryland Auto Insurance is a Great Option

Maryland Auto Insurance is a great provider for those seeking coverage after being denied elsewhere, especially those with bad credit or no credit history.

The company also provides great coverage options for high-risk drivers, including Uber and Lyft drivers, towing and rental cars. However, due to their commitment to covering higher-risk individuals, the cost for coverage can be a bit higher than other providers in the region. Be sure to shop around to determine whether or not Maryland Auto Insurance is the best auto insurance provider for your needs.

Due to Maryland Auto Insurance being a nonstandard transitional provider, all applicants must prove at least two other standard insurers have denied them to qualify, so keep that in mind before requesting a quote.

Maryland Auto Insurance Ratings, Reviews, Customer Satisfaction & Complaints

Because Maryland Auto Insurance is not a standard insurance carrier, information about their financial strength and customer satisfaction is pretty limited. However, there are a few resources customers can refer to when determining the company’s customer satisfaction:

  • Better Business Bureau: The company currently is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), nor does it have a BBB rating. However, some interesting insights can be gained from customer complaints. Namely, the company appears to be slow to respond to claims requests, especially when handling claims for people who have been involved in an accident with one of their clients.
  • Google: According to their Google My Business listing, the company has 165 reviews and a 2.3-star rating. Again, most of the complaints are from drivers not insured by Maryland Auto Insurance who have been involved in accidents with one of their insured drivers.

Additional Policies Offered by Maryland Auto Insurance

In addition to regular auto insurance, Maryland Auto Insurance offers policies for Uber and Lyft drivers, motorcyclists and scooters and other low-speed vehicles. It does not offer coverage options for homeowners, renters, life insurance or any other type of insurance product besides motorized vehicles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best auto insurance company?

The best auto insurance company is different for everyone and is largely based on personal preference. It’s a good idea to shop around and compare rates from different carriers, then speak with a licensed insurance professional.

What do I need to get a quote from Maryland Auto Insurance?

Receiving a personalized quote from Maryland Auto Insurance is simple. First, you’ll need to be prepared to prove that you are a Maryland resident, possess a Maryland driver’s license and have at least two previous denials from other carriers. Then you can request a quote online.

How do I file a claim with Maryland Auto Insurance?

Maryland Auto Insurance offers 24/7 claims assistance through their online portal and via telephone. Customers can visit their claims reporting service online to file their claim or dial 800-492-7120 to get assistance.

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What Kinds of Dealers Work With Bankruptcy?

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With so many dealerships, how do you know which one can work with bankruptcy? Turns out, there’s a name for dealers that are signed up with lenders that can: special finance dealerships.

What’s a Special Finance Dealership?

What Kinds of Dealers Work With Bankruptcy?Going through bankruptcy can cause damage to your credit reports and lower your credit score, which can make it difficult to bounce back. Many traditional auto lenders have higher credit score requirements that can be hard for some borrowers to meet. That’s where subprime lenders come in and fill the gap.

Dealers that have bankruptcy car loan resources are called special finance dealerships. They assist bankruptcy borrowers by being signed up with subprime lenders that are often able to help. These are usually the same dealers that work with bad credit and no credit borrowers.

It’s important to note that the dealerships themselves aren’t necessarily concerned with your credit reports – but the lenders that they’re signed up with are. The lender looks at your credit reports to determine your ability to pay for a vehicle.

Special financing dealers are unique because they’re signed up with lenders that look at more than just your credit score. They’re experts in assisting borrowers with unique credit situations, including bankruptcies. Subprime lenders take a look at your income, living stability, and financial circumstances as a whole, as well as ask for a down payment.

Some traditional lenders may take one look at a bankruptcy on your credit reports and turn you away. This isn’t the case with subprime lenders at special financing dealerships.

How Special Financing Works

Once you find a dealer, you meet with the special finance manager who acts on the subprime lender’s behalf. The lenders are third-party, so you never meet with them in person. The special finance manager works you through the whole process, verifies your documents, and sends them off to one or more subprime lenders that they’re signed up with to see if you qualify for financing.

When it comes to the things you need to apply for a subprime auto loan, your documents can vary, but there are basic items you can prepare. If you’re recently discharged from bankruptcy and the discharge hasn’t appeared on your credit reports, you may have to bring a copy of your discharge papers to show that you’re in the clear for car financing.

Other items you can prepare for your trip to the dealership include:

  • Computer-generated check stubs – Most subprime lenders require that you have a minimum monthly income of around $1,500 to $2,500 before taxes, from a single source.
  • Proof of residency – To prove your residency, expect to bring a recent utility bill in your name with your correct address. A bank statement could also meet this requirement.
  • Working phone – Subprime lenders need to be able to contact you, so you need proof that you have a working landline or cell phone with a recent phone bill in your name. Prepaid phones aren’t accepted.
  • Driver’s license – You need a valid driver’s license to test drive and drive the vehicle off the lot, and it also proves your identity. Your license can’t be revoked, suspended, or expired.
  • Personal references – Subprime lenders generally ask for a list of five to eight personal references. These contacts can be friends, family members, or even coworkers. They just can’t be anyone that lives with you.
  • Down payment – To get into a bankruptcy auto loan, you need a down payment to show you’ve got skin in the game. Most subprime lenders require at least $1,000 or 10% of the car’s selling price (sometimes whichever is less).

If you meet all the requirements and your documents are verified, then the subprime lender sends out what’s called a payment call. This outlines what your maximum monthly payment can be based on what you qualify for. From there, you choose a vehicle with the dealer from their lot and finalize the rest of the car buying paperwork.

Subprime Car Loans and Bankruptcy Borrowers

Not only can subprime auto lenders help bankruptcy borrowers get back on the road, they also report their loans to the credit bureaus. This is important to the aspect of repairing your credit after bankruptcy because a loan that isn’t reported can’t assist you in bouncing back from the damage of a lower credit score.

Your timely payments on the car loan are the most important aspect of credit repair. Payment history makes up the biggest chunk of your credit score: 35%. By making all of your monthly payments on time, and keeping all other aspects of your credit score in check, you can rebuild your credit.

Repairing your credit after bankruptcy can be difficult, but the work is worth it. A better credit score can mean qualifying for better deals, qualifying for lower interest rates, and, overall, making it a little easier to get approved for the things you need, like a vehicle.

Finding a Dealership That Works With Bankruptcy

Not every dealership is signed up with subprime lenders, and these dealers can be hard to find in the crowd. At Auto Credit Express, we’ve created an easier way to find the resources that bankruptcy borrowers need to get an auto loan.

We’ve cultivated a network of dealerships that are teamed up with subprime lenders across the whole country, and we want to find one in your local area. To get started, fill out our free car loan request form. There’s no obligation, so let us save you the hassle and look for one with the bankruptcy resources you need.

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