Earlier this year, the New York State Senate and Assembly passed the Fair Medical Debt Reporting Act, which would protect patients from having their credit ruined due to the reporting of medical debt to credit bureaus. Medical debt is a serious issue that affects 100 million Americans — 41% of the population. A bad credit score has serious consequences; it can prevent a patient from securing a job, renting an apartment, buying a car, and securing a loan or a mortgage. While the credit reporting agencies have voluntarily agreed to not report medical debts below $500, this does not protect patients in New York State, where health care prices are notoriously high.
Individuals who submit stories may be eligible for compensation; The Heart Network will provide assistance with writing and editing. Stories must describe the circumstances and impact of medical debt on the storyteller and may be anonymous. The Heart Network will submit the story to the New York State Association of Rural Health in support of the campaign to end medical debt. Stories will also be shared with local media outlets and on social media.