With the help of Fico score founder Fair Isaac, Healthcare Analytics plans to roll out the controversial “medFICO” this year, a credit scoring system that tracks patient billing data from hospitals nationwide.
The idea was developed in an effort to determine a patient’s ability to repay medical bills, not before they receive treatment, but only upon discharge.
However, consumer advocacy groups are already expressing concern over the medical credit score, which they believe could prevent lower-income patients from receiving care.
And like the traditional Fico score, think the new score could be subject to identity theft and riddled with mistakes.
The impetus behind the whole thing is to help hospitals better manage their financials, especially when they’re reporting a large number of missed or late payments.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act currently permits hospitals and doctors to report health care-related bills to credit reporting agencies, but they aren’t allowed to disclose what the bills are for.
For that reason, it’s actually quite common to see a medical bill on your credit report and not recognize it, as it often just displays limited details, such as the billing agency and nothing else.
And one missed medical payment can quickly become a collection, and eventually a charge-off, often going unnoticed and resulting in a huge credit score ding.
To me, the whole thing seems way off. First of all, who needs another credit report, especially when most consumers can’t understand the one that’s currently available?
And why not improve the one we’ve got instead of creating another, which is sure to be just as confusing, if not more?
Does this mean we’ll all have to pay another fee to monitor our medFICO score? I can already see senior citizens nationwide shelling out what little income they have to keep track of their new score.
And who regulates the system? Who decides when the report is pulled, and what happens on follow-up treatment? If you’re likely to pay late, do you fall back in the queue to see your physician?
Regardless, the whole thing sounds like just more red tape, and more trouble for our ailing healthcare system.
Related: Why credit scores are different?