Collection agencies can keep collection accounts on your credit report for seven years even after being paid in full. Some will agree to delete them, but you have to ask. If you have a balance, you can take steps to demonstrate your financial situation has improved and you are taking responsibility for the debt. Changes in federal law also lessen the impact medical collections accounts have on your overall credit score.
Verify Account Accuracy
If you have a remaining balance on a medical collection account, ask the collection agency for verification. It must provide documentation of the debt and any payments made. If you believe the balance is wrong, file a dispute with each credit reporting agency; these agencies have 30 to 45 days to investigate your claim.
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Pay Your Account
When your account is paid in full, ask the collection agency for a letter verifying the account is paid and that it will report it as a "deletion item." This doesn't always work for deleting the item, but at a minimum you will get a letter verifying a zero balance. Send each reporting bureau -- Experian, TransUnion and Equifax -- a copy of the letter. They have 30 days to update your account as paid or to delete the entry, but once they receive verification, it typically doesn't take that long.