Personal Bankruptcy & Hospital Bills
If you're worried about the cost of your hospital bills or other medical care, you're not alone. Across the United States, people are finding themselves unable to cover the high cost of healthcare, getting into debt and left with few (if any) options besides filing for bankruptcy.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans file for bankruptcy protection to find a fresh start, free from debt. Many of them turn to bankruptcy after they or a loved one experience a health event that puts significant strains on their finances.
To speak with a bankruptcy lawyer about your medical debt and how bankruptcy might help you, please fill out the free case review form below to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.
Hospital Bills & Debt
So how can mounting medical debt lead to the necessity to file for personal bankruptcy? Healthcare bills can add up in a number of ways:
- Expensive procedures or treatments: If you or a family member falls ill unexpectedly, gets seriously injured or contracts a chronic disease, the likelihood is high that hospital bills and medical costs will add up quickly. For some families struggling with medical debt, the size and quantity of bills alone is enough to push them toward bankruptcy protection.
- Unemployment and health insurance: Another way that medical bills can lead to overwhelming debt is if the main breadwinner in your family gets laid off or otherwise finds his or her income seriously cut. People whose medical insurance is tied to their job may find that even ordinary visits to the doctor can strain a household budget without insurance benefits.
- Lost work time: In still other circumstances, a fully insured person might get sick or hurt and be unable to work for an extended period of time, which could lead to job loss, income loss and thus an inability to pay bills that might have been otherwise manageable.
What is Medical Bankruptcy?
While federal law doesn't recognize "medical bankruptcy" as an entity separate from other types of personal bankruptcy, some financial analysts have coined this term to refer to the phenomenon of people driven to bankruptcy primarily because of unwieldy medical debt.
Here are some basics about medical debt and bankruptcy.
- Medical debt is unsecured: Because hospital bills are not tied to any property, they are considered unsecured debts. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court has the power to excuse some or all of a filer's unsecured debts, and hospital bills are often among those excused.
- Medical bills are sometimes negotiable: If you've recently received bills you don't think you'll be able to pay, consider bargaining. Some hospitals will accept less than the total value of your bill if you can pay a portion in full up front.
- Medical bills can lead to garnishment: If you are unable to make payments on hospital bills, the provider may be able to garnish your wages in order to collect payment, though generally a court order is required. You can halt wage garnishments and other collection actions by filing for personal bankruptcy.
Find out If Personal Bankruptcy Could Help You with Your Medical Bills
If you're facing a strain on your finances due to illness, injury or other medical issue, and you're interested in learning more about how filing for bankruptcy may be able to help you eliminate your medical debt, take the first step today and connect with a bankruptcy attorney near you.
A local attorney can explain how laws in your state may protect your valuable assets when you file bankruptcy, and how bankruptcy can provide a fresh start. Connect with an attorney today - simply fill out the free case review form below to get started.