Mortgage lenders, Realtors, and their clients, too, are learning the power that the medical profession has over credit scores.
Many doctors' groups, labs, hospitals and such expect their patients to instantaneously cough up whatever their medical insurance carrier doesn't.
When there is even the slightest delay, they turn the account - regardless of the size of the balance that's remaining - to a collection agency, and that occurrence is immediately reported to the credit agencies.
One wealthy U.S. congressman recently complained that he had learned for the first time that there was approximately $50 outstanding on a medical bill he had incurred some years before. It had been reported by his physician to the credit bureaus and as a result, his credit score suffered a 100 point drop.
Several mortgage companies are trying to get federal legislation in place that will stop this foolishness. Whether they'll be successful or not remains to be seen.
And whether the National Association of Realtors' lobbyists have weighed in on this problem, apparently hasn't been publicized. If they haven't, I think they should.
What might be as appropriate would be for there to be federal fair billing regulations put into place that would require those in the medical profession to disclose the cost of treatment before they begin, and to know for certain that a patient plans to stiff them before they report him to the credit bureaus.
Nevertheless, many in the medical profession, whether knowingly or not, have caused a substantial number of their patients to have to wrestle with credit scores that prevent them from home ownership.
BILL CHERRY, REALTORS
DALLAS - PARK CITIES