Many people get confused when they get a copy of their credit report and see collections of “Medical Payment Data.” This is seen when someone obtains your credit report from an involved third party, such as applying for a mortgage or at the car dealership. This would not show up if you had to get your report on your own without a third party.

When you see Medical Payment Data on your report, you are not contacting them. Because there is really no “them” to contact, as it is just a term that denotes a medical charge on your credit report.

This is done to protect the name of the person requesting the credit report, due to federal privacy laws. Your next step would be to call the credit bureaus that list the charges on the medical report. When you call the credit reporting agencies, they can tell you who the current owner of the debt is.

Once you receive the information from the credit reporting agencies, you can contact the medical collection agency directly. This is because they own the debt and the hospital is out of the picture now. It’s not fully understood how credit bureaus treat different debts, but it’s thought that hospital debt isn’t too bad on your credit report.

Certainly, if you’re working with a person who reviews your application, such as at a small bank or car dealership, you may have some leeway to have medical payment data on your credit report. This is because it can show that you had extenuating circumstances. This especially helps when there are no other collections in the report.

If you think this is harmonizing your credit profile, you can work with the collection agency to remove the poor score from your report. Usually, the longer it’s gone without paying, the worse it gets, up to a point. When a collection is a few years old, it has already done its damage. If you can pay the collection agency immediately after they get it from the hospital, you may be able to avoid it being listed on your credit report.

The older the debt, the more, the less you must offer to pay off the debt. A debt that is several years old may only offer a fraction of the original bill. If the debt is new, you can pay the full amount or almost. The best thing to do is remove the dent completely, this would help your score the most. If not, you could at least mark the bill on your report as paid in full.