At one time, your credit score was only used to determine credit-worthiness prior to receiving a credit card or approval for a house or car loan. Those days have all but gone by the wayside as prospective employers, landlords, and now even hospitals are poking around in people’s credit reports. My question is, when is the DMV going to use your FICO score to determine if you should have a license or not? That’s a scary thought. However, consider this. Ten years ago, who would have thought a credit score, rather than interviewing skills or resume, cost someone that dream job?
Dallas Business Journal just ran a story on Tenet Healthcare Corporation’s Texas facilities and their practice of checking patients’ credit scores, sometimes even before surgeries. According to the healthcare giant, they use the FICO scores of patients to target which patients are most likely to pay their part of any fees not covered by insurance. This practice is unbiased and affects all Texas residents whether they are affluent, middle-class or impoverished.
Much of Tenet’s success in this area has been from their big push to collect more cash at the time of a patient’s appointment or procedure. After the patient leaves, it becomes dramatically more difficult to capture those dollars. According to Tenet’s Chief Financial Officer, Biggs Porter, this move is largely responsible for Tenet being able to weather the current economic climate so well.
Many people are concerned that with a quarter of all hospitals adopting some sort of credit checking program, people will eventually be turned down in the emergency room because of substandard credit. Tenet Healthcare is stepping up its efforts to help patients determine if they are eligible for government programs such as SCHIP, Medicaid and Medicare. That is one service they do for their patients who will be receiving an elective surgery. At the time of this writing, Tenet only checks the credit of those receiving elective surgeries.This has raised a red flag for some. Patients are wondering if this practice will lead to people being refused elective surgery. This could spark a big battle between Texas hospitals, insurance companies and patients over what constitutes an elective surgery and who decides if the surgery is performed or not.
Hospitals are not the only ones who are taking a closer look at an individual’s credit report these days. Many employers are starting to check a prospective employee’s credit for signs of financial irresponsibility. Ever wonder why your co-worker has been able to afford that big house, fancy new cars and a big, name-brand boat? The answer may very well be in the credit report. A poor credit score can and will cost you thousands during your lifetime.
Credit repair in Texas is vital, so let’s talk about anyone’s biggest purchase, the house. The difference between what a prime borrower pays and what a non prime borrower pays is staggering. A prime borrower with a $150,000 mortgage at 4.25% will pay about $737.00 a month, which equates to $265,300 over the life of the loan. A non prime borrower with a 6.5% will pay $948.00 a month or about $341,200 over the 30 year mortgage period. This means the borrower with the less than stellar credit score is paying over $75,000 more than a prime borrower.
Your credit score can cost you thousands in your life time. It can impact your job,lifestyle, daily living expenses, and maybe even the quality of healthcare you receive.
It’s time to check your credit and take control of your life before some ‘suit’ in a healthcare company or insurance giant does it for you. Credit repair, it’s now more important than ever.