Have medical expenses impacted your credit score?

We’re working to prohibit medical debt on credit reports. Your story could help.

stethoscope and calculator on top of a medical bill
DNY59 via iStock | iStock.com

Unaffordable medical expenses can turn into medical debt that is included on our credit report. 

The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report in 2022 that exposed the widespread problem of medical debt for American families. More than $88 billion in medical bills have been included in credit reports. These debts, even when paid, can remain on credit reports for seven years, making it less likely for affected individuals to get loans, buy a home, or in some cases, to even get a job. Debt in general has an added negative impact on individuals’ long-term health. 

We have known for years that medical debt doesn’t predict credit defaults, nor does it accurately predict a person’s desire and willingness to pay off loans. In fact, CFPB’s own research showed that medical billing data on a credit report is “less predictive of future repayment than reporting on traditional credit obligations.

That’s why CALPIRG supports legislation to prohibit the appearance of all medical debt on consumer credit reports.  

Confusing bills, errors in coding, and unsubstantiated claim denials are just some of the reasons people fighting medical bills suddenly find themselves dealing with collections agencies. We need a fair credit system that doesn’t penalize people for life events they can’t control like getting sick. 

Share your story of medical debt and its impact on your credit report. 

These personal experiences help decisionmakers understand exactly how this issue impacts their communities. We’re especially interested in examples erroneous medical debt or debt that was a result of fraud.   Please use the link above to share your story with us. 


Jenn Engstrom

State Director, CALPIRG

Jenn directs CALPIRG’s advocacy efforts, and is a leading voice in Sacramento and across the state on protecting public health, consumer protections and defending our democracy. Jenn has served on the CALPIRG board for the past two years before stepping into her current role. Most recently, as the deputy national director for the Student PIRGs, she helped run our national effort to mobilize hundreds of thousands of students to vote. She led CALPIRG’s organizing team for years and managed our citizen outreach offices across the state, running campaigns to ban single-use plastic bags, stop the overuse of antibiotics, and go 100% renewable energy. Jenn lives in Los Angeles, where she enjoys spending time at the beach and visiting the many amazing restaurants in her city.