AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As of Friday, three nationwide credit reporting agencies will remove nearly 70% of medical debt from credit reports and according to LendingTree up to 45% of Americans could benefit.

Paid medical debt won’t appear on consumer credit reports starting July 1. Similarly, unpaid medical debt won’t appear on credit reports for a year, up from six months. And in the first half of 2023, the three agencies won’t include medical debt of less than $500 on credit reports.

John T. McElyea, senior vice president at Amarillo National Bank said this relief could help consumers get a better credit score.

“Potentially, having these removed, it could be millions of consumers that could be helped to get these paid medical items removed from their credit reports. Again it will help their credit scores and typically with better credit scores they can get lower interest rates on different types of loans,” said McElyea.

The top drivers of medical debt are often unpredictable and often necessary procedures. These include emergency room visits, doctor or specialist visits, surgery, childbirth, and dental care.

Mcelyea said that even if the medical item was paid, the debt can remain on the credit report for up to seven years.

“Which can still have a negative effect on the consumer’s credit score,” added McElyea.

He said medical debts may not accurately reflect how someone’s credit score and how they pay their bills.

“Because it is a one-time, emergency type situation as they have paid those medical items, being removed instead of staying on their reports for up to seven years and it will be removed now and it will definitely benefit a lot of those consumers,” said McElyea.

Mcelyea added if you have any questions about your credit, talk to your bank.

“We are able to help, we will counsel where we need to on any consumer credit item,” said McElyea.

According to LendingTree, on average, Americans with medical debt owe between $5,000 to $9,999.