Treating cancer often comes with medical debt but credit reporting agencies are changing

Written by on March 29, 2022

Treating cancer often comes with medical debt but credit reporting agencies are changing

By Chloe Nouvelle
March 29, 2022

Medical treatment can be stressful but medical debt changes lives too, a recent survey found. (Photo | Creative Commons)

WASHINGTON – Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Pennsylvania according to a report published by the state’s Department of Health in 2019. 

And a recent survey from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network found for half of cancer patients and survivors, treating their disease came with medical debt.

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The survey also found that more than 70% of people said they made “significant lifestyle changes” in order to afford cancer care, including “depleting most or all of their savings” and taking on credit card debt.

“You imagine being treated for cancer, that’s stressful enough, it’s worrisome enough,  but to have to go into the treatment and not only worry about the treatment but also worry about, can I afford this,” said Marc Kaplan, senior regional media advocacy manager at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.  

In addition, the survey found that the majority of people with medical debt had their accounts go into collections, and nearly half said the debt negatively impacted their credit. 

“Another important point is women and African Americans are the most likely to experience medical debt,” said Kaplan. 

Earlier this month, three nationwide credit reporting agencies announced they would remove medical debt from credit reports that went into collections but were paid off. They also doubled the time period before unpaid medical debt appears on a report. 

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