November 16, 2023

CFPB: Report Issued Highlighting Consumer Protection Issues in Medical Debt Collection

Annual report on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act also describes the CFPB’s and states’ efforts to end the collection of inaccurate medical bills that consumers may not even owe

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report  highlighting the challenges American families face when debt collectors pursue allegedly unpaid medical bills. Discussing the 8,500 complaints submitted in 2022 by servicemembers, older adults, and other consumers relating to medical debt collections, the CFPB’s annual report to Congress on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act describes how the CFPB and states have worked to stop the collections of medical bills that are inaccurate or not even owed at all. The report also provides updates on the debt collection market more broadly and summarizes activities by the CFPB and other federal agencies relating to debt collection, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and its actions under the FTC Act to protect small businesses from unfair and deceptive debt collection practices.

Tens of millions of people are pursued by debt collectors for medical bills, and today’s report highlights the problem of the collection of medical bills that are inaccurate or not owed. The CFPB has previously described the significant evidence, including reports  from consumers themselves, that the collection, furnishing, and reporting of medical bills is plagued by inaccuracies

In 2022, the CFPB received thousands of consumer complaints about medical debt collection. The issues raised by consumer complaints include that the pursued medical bills had already been paid, were not owed by the patient or family, or were for inaccurate amounts; collections of medical bills began long after services were provided – with some being collected decades after care; and collectors placed medical bills on consumers’ credit reports without first contacting consumers. Among those who reached out to the CFPB about problematic experiences with medical debt collections were servicemembersand older adults, despite generally having insurance coverage and access to free or reduced cost care.

In response to the problems raised by consumers and the CFPB’s own research, today’s report makes clear:

The CFPB is taking steps to ensure that medical debt collectors follow the law, including the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. These steps include:

Read the report, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act CFPB Annual Report 2023.

Learn more the CFPB’s work in the area of medical debt.

Consumers can submit complaints about financial products or services by visiting the CFPB’s website or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372).

Employees who they believe their company has violated federal consumer financial protection laws are encouraged to send information about what they know to

This post was originally published here.