New Jersey Governor Seeks to Combat Medical Debt 

By Consumers for Quality Care, on February 7, 2024

New Jersey Governor Seeks to Combat Medical Debt 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is making it his priority to provide relief to state residents who are suffering from crippling medical debt, as reported by NJ Advance Media

An estimated 11 percent of New Jersey residents have medical debt. The issue is more pronounced in communities of color, where 16 percent of residents are burdened with medical debt.  

In Governor Murphy’s State of the State address, he called on state lawmakers to pass a series of proposals to address the medical debt crisis. One proposal would instruct providers to delay sending unpaid medical bills to collection agencies for 180 days, allowing consumers time to negotiate the bill and seek financial assistance. Another proposal would prohibit unpaid medical debt under $500 from being included in credit reports and require debt collectors to wait a year before reporting unpaid medical debt to credit agencies. Finally, Governor Murphy is calling for legislation that would instruct hospitals and medical care providers to use plain language in their bills to ensure that consumers can understand what they are being asked to pay.  

Governor Murphy will also appropriate state funds to provide direct relief to consumers who are suffering from medical debt. A $10 million appropriation will be made to RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that negotiates with providers to pay off consumers medical debt at a fraction of the costs.  

CQC applauds these efforts and urges more collaboration from both public and private entities to find ways to address the burden of medical debt on millions of Americans.