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Erroneous migraine-related credit score dings that won’t go away

When was the last time you checked out your credit score and report?  May I urge you to do so now?  (As far as I know, CreditKarma dot com is the only place online where you can get a truly free copy of your score—no gimmicks.)

You’re probably wondering why I’m asking this, as posts are supposed to be about, well, migraine.

And don’t worry: I’ll get to that.

One glaring item on my credit report is an emergency room bill from a few years ago. To save you a lot of time, I’ll keep this story short: I paid the bill but the hospital said I didn’t, and the bill was reported to a credit bureau. After years of fighting it and following every possible path to get it corrected, nothing can be done. (This is a statement made in an effort to save you helpful folks from telling me all the people I can call and all the institutions I can write to to fight this erroneous information.  You’ll have to trust me when I say that i have done absolutely everything within my power save going to court—which I’m not willing to do—and, after about 20 hours of phone calls and years’ worth of in-person meetings, I am giving up.)

Two things make me even more bitter about this particular story.

One: apart from this one bit of erroneous information, my credit score is really high.  My banker has told me that, despite knowing firsthand that the information on the credit report is wrong, it’s not advisable for me to do something like buy a house until the item falls off my report, as the lowest interest rate she’d be able to get me would be less than stellar.  It’s frustrating to have such a huge ding on your report, especially when it’s not your fault. It’s making a serious impact on my ability to move forward with my life. Ugh.

Two: THE ER VISIT WAS NOT HELPFUL AT ALL.  I had had a migraine for several days without any meaningful interruption, and I was following healthcare professionals’ advice by seeking emergency care in order to get a medical intervention that would stop the migraine process.  I wanted to avoid and/or interrupt the status migrainosus process. Too bad no one in the ER had ever heard of status migrainosus, and everyone kept focusing on trying to give me morphine (which I rejected several times and was then billed for despite never having been administered the drug).  In my exhausted state, I tried to get the nurse to call my neurologist, who knows a heck of a lot about migraine disease. No one called the neurologist.  I tried to explain status migrainosus but got the distinct impression (and I could be wrong) that they thought I was a slightly crazed patient who believed she was an expert because she had googled the word “migraine” one time.  I repeatedly told them that I didn’t want morphine, an opioid, and that instead I just needed them to do what they could to stop the entire attack, not just focus on the pain.

It was a trying experience, and I had hoped I’d left it behind forever later that day when Jim drove me back home to rest.

Instead, years later, I think of it every time I look at my credit report, every time I consider if and when I might buy a home, every time I get a really terrible migraine and worry that I may have to return to the ER for an emergency intervention.

Have you ever found an erroneous medical-related item on your credit report, or have you had to fight with a healthcare provider over an incorrect bill? How’d it go for you?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • barb
    4 years ago is the first one set up by Federal law and is free as well. I use it a few times a year and never have a problem.

    It’s a problem and I agree, start kicking up a fuss. Hugs!

  • beckys11
    5 years ago

    I agree with Stagemom. I was in a lawsuit worth millions of dollars from lifelong injuries from a car accident. A lawyer WILL get it fixed for you. Don’t stop now.

  • Stagemom
    5 years ago

    Have to give advice here: go to the media. Many network news outlets have consumer help people. If you can get this publicised watch how fast the hispital ” finds” your payment. The other solution, if you haven’t tried it, is to file a huge

  • Rainey
    5 years ago

    Medical bills ruined my credit. I have many emergency room bills from when I was underinsured, unemployed and sick.

    The worst insult to my credit score was from an MRI in 2008. The MRI facility forgot to bill my insurance. The charges went into collections.

    Six months later, I saved enough money to make an offer (I had been dead broke). At the time I paid it, I saw the the bill hadn’t gone to my insurance. At the time of the MRI, I had already made the deductible. I would have had to pay $50, which I could have afforded.

    I went on a mission to correct the mistake. I called the doctor who had requested the MRI and I called my insurance. I was able to get the bills straightened out. In fact, I would be getting a check, since I paid the bill out of pocket. I was elated. There was just one catch: the insurance made the check out to the radiology center. The center held back $300 because they thought I should have paid for collections. I was incensed. I was paying for their mistake.

    A few years later, when I checked my credit score, I found the original erroneous charge present. What a nightmare! I shouldn’t care about my credit. I am not buying a house, or applying for a credit card, but I would like to rent. I seriously doubt that I can (even with a cosigner).

  • Guineverre
    5 years ago

    I am dealing with a similar situation right now. I went to a “world renown” clinic, which by the way, also didn’t help me. They got paid by insurance. When I got the bill for my portion of the charges, they tacked on a multitude of unauthorized charges. I agreed to pay part of it, but wanted to continue discussing the remaining unauthorized charges. I spent weeks at a time waiting for them to call me back, but they never did. Instead they sent me a letter telling me to find treatment elsewhere. And, they sent my bill to a collection agency, who immediately reported it to the credit bureaus, without any prior notice or chance of mediation. It stinks when this happens because of a health matter, and a desperate need for help. Instead of being a source of help, the providers become contributors as sources of stress.

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