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The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Privacy Rule mandates that your personal medical information many not be shared unless there is a permissible reason for doing so. HIPPA extends to credit reporting agencies and collections agencies as well. For consumers, HIPPA actually assists in dealing with delinquent medical collection accounts.
There is an interesting dynamic when the rules of medical records (aka HIPPA) are applied to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Each set of rules compliments each other in a manner that enables you to pay off the delinquent medical bill with the medical provider and then force the collection agencies to close the account and the credit reporting bureaus to remove it from your three credit reports. The steps are specific and must be done in order, but with the right information and guidance, you can have all of your medical collection accounts removed from your credit reports.
Essentially, once the debt has been paid to the medical provider, neither the collection agency, nor the credit reporting agencies can access the information according to HIPPA because there is no legal right to the information since it has been paid. The medical provider is unable to release any information because it is a matter of your medical records, not an outstanding debt.
First, you notify the medical provider that you are opting out of sharing information with credit reporting agencies and all creditors, via certified mail. Then you pay the medical provider in full, which under HIPPA, forces the medical provider from turning over the payment to the collection agency, nor reporting the debt on their credit report.
Finally, you send a letter to the credit-reporting agency, asking them to verify the details of the debt, which under the Fair Credit Reporting Act is a requirement. Since the debt has been paid in full, the medical provider is unable to provide any information. The collection agency must also comply because they are unable to verify the information and because it is no longer a debt that they are authorized to collect.
This is a basic overview of the process, but it is a sure fire method of removing medical collections from your credit report. You do not need to pay a credit repair company to do the above steps for you and doing so is probably a waste of your money. Instead, use a comprehensive 'do it yourself' credit repair system, that offers detailed instructions, various dispute letters specific to HIPPA and ongoing support to guide you through the process. Credit repair companies will try to charge you up to $500 per item, when you can do it yourself for a few hundred dollars.