WOODBURY - Officials say changes are on the way to keep medical bills from weighing down credit scores.
FICO, the top credit score provider in the United States, is making changes to put less emphasis on medical debt. If the only unpaid debt on a credit report is medical debt, officials say the FICO score could jump as much as 25 points.
FICO will also start ignoring debts in collections that have been paid off or settled. Right now, even paid-off debts that went to collections are factored into credit scores for up to seven years.
Debt resolution attorney Leslie Tayne says the move is going to help a lot of people who were struggling to get loans and are now struggling to get better rates. However, some critics say loosening standards is not good for lenders or borrowers.
Attorney Howard Strong told News 12 Long Island, "A lot of people really just can't handle credit. You're not really helping them by allowing them to dig themselves into debt."
Some argue that medical debt should not be used in credit reports because it's not always clear to consumers what they owe and why.
Medical debt accounts for nearly half of all debt on consumers' credit reports. The newer FICO scores are said to be available in the fall.