Three of the most common reasons consumers file for bankruptcy are divorce, loss of a job, and illness. Debts resulting from serious health issues can be overwhelming. Those with insurance still often face unreimbursed expenses, and even the medical insurance co-pays can become incredibly costly after repeated hospital visits. And if you're among the millions of Americans without sufficient (or any) health insurance, the outlook is even bleaker. The financial burden of health care can definitely challenge your finances. Fortunately, consumers have some options.
Work Out a Payment Plan with the Hospital
Many hospitals have special payment arrangements for qualifying low-income individuals. In some cases, hospitals may even consider waiving some of the bill. Some hospitals give special reductions to patients whose income is at or below three times the federal poverty level.
Charitable Hospitals Often Have Special Programs
Some nonprofit religious and charity-oriented hospitals have special care programs that pick up all or part of the cost of care for indigent or special needs families. Sometimes all it takes is a simple phone call to the hospital administrator to find out about these programs.
Negotiating Medical Debt
Law firms such as ours that specialize in debt relief can negotiate on your behalf to reduce the balance you owe to something you can afford to repay. Frequently, you can reduce medical debts substantially.
Even when medical insurance covers most medical expenses, the loss of income from dealing with family illness can strain a person's finances. If the strategies discussed above aren't successful, you may have the option to resolve your debt by declaring bankruptcy. In bankruptcy proceedings, medical debt is viewed as the same type of unsecured debt as credit card debt. For those who are eligible to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, all unsecured debt can be totally eliminated. In those cases where Chapter 7 is not a possibility, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy often forces unsecured creditors like medical providers, hospitals, and doctors to accept pennies on the dollar. Be aware, though, that declaring bankruptcy has serious consequences and should only be considered after consulting with a qualified attorney.
Don't Ignore Medical Bills
Medical debt is still debt that doctors and hospitals will aggressively seek to collect by suing you. However, just like there are cures for illness, there are cures for overwhelming medical debt. If you have mounting medical bills or any other debt problems, don't wait until you lose everything before you seek financial help.
Additional resources provided by the author
This article was adapted from one of my blog posts. For more information about resolving debt, please click on the blue links below: