Legislation introduced in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate would prohibit “health care providers” from furnishing information concerning medical debt to credit reporting agencies.
The legislation would prohibit “medical creditors” from reporting “any portion of a medical debt which is alleged to be unpaid to any collection or credit reporting agency, bureau, or data collection facility.”
Covered “medical debt” is defined as debt arising from the provision of a “health care service” by a “health care provider . . . acting within the scope of its licensure or certification.”
A “health care provider includes, but is not limited to, a physician, dentist and other [licensed] health care professionals . . . and a hospital and other health care facilities licensed pursuant to Title 26 of the Revised Statutes.”
The term medical creditor is defined as “any health care provider that provides health care services to whom a consumer owes money for health care services.” It would also include any “person who purchases a medical debt” making it applicable to debt buyers.
Although the legislation would prohibit furnishing of covered medical debt, the legislation has a narrow definition of “medical debt” by limiting it to debt owed (or originally owed) to health care providers, rather than other debt types (such as credit card debt or closed end loans) which were used to pay for health care services.