Medical bills can wreck credit, even when paid off

In this photo taken Feb. 10, 2012, Nathen and Melissa Cobb pose for a photo with their two children Joshua, 3, and Savannah, 7 months, at their home in Riverton, Ill. The Cobbs tried to refinance their home last year and didn't qualify for the loan because of medical bills that had been sent to a collection agency. They were surprised because the bills had been paid. They now know that the collection action can stay on their credit report for seven years. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

March 5, 2012 8:12:47 AM PST
Mike and Laura Park thought their credit record was spotless. The Texas couple wanted to take advantage of low interest rates, so they put their house on the market and talked to a lender about a mortgage on a bigger home in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.

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