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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.

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How to check your credit for medical debt snags

When a debt collector goes after you for a late medical bill, your credit can suffer — even if you quickly pay up.

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