On January 13, 2022, the CFPB released a bulletin to remind debt collectors of their obligations under the No Surprises Act, which protects consumers from certain unexpected medical bills. The bulletin reminds companies that if they attempt to collect on prohibited debts, they face potential liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
The No Surprises Act protects participants, beneficiaries, and enrollees in group health plans and group and individual health insurance coverage from surprise medical bills associated with certain emergency services, non-emergency services from non-participating providers, and air ambulance services. It also requires certain healthcare facilities to disclose Federal and State patent protections against balance billing and includes protections for uninsured (or self-pay) individuals.
“Too many Americans have been shocked by surprise medical bills and forced to pay up through credit report coercion,” said CFPB Director Rohit Chopra. “Our action today should serve as a reminder not to collect on or furnish credit reporting information about invalid medical debt.”
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