A bill that is past due
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If you find yourself facing unexpected medical bills for expenses your insurance wouldn’t cover, you’re not alone. Right now, more than a hundred million people in America are saddled with crushing medical debt. The last thing you want is a medical provider to sue you for an unpaid debt and put a lien on your home or garnish your wages. A Florida bankruptcy attorney can help you understand your best course of action when that debt becomes overwhelming.

Understanding the Relationship Between Medical Debt and Bankruptcy

We think of medical debt as overdue bills for doctor visits but it’s more than that. You may have high credit card balances due to unexpected ER visits or doctor visits or medications, and that qualifies as medical debt too. The debts you’ve incurred from medical treatment are part of your overall debts and can be discharged through bankruptcy just like any other debt.

Legal Routes to Addressing Medical Debt 

Bankruptcy isn’t the only way to clear medical debt. Many hospitals have patient assistance programs, and you may qualify, depending on your income. Here are some other possible options:

Before doing anything else, call the office you owe the money to and ask if they will let you work out a payment plan. Many medical offices will do that.

Benefits of Filing Bankruptcy for Medical Debt

If you are inundated by phone calls and letters from medical care providers trying to collect what you owe them, filing for bankruptcy may be the only way to end that harassment. Medical debt is handled the same way as other debt when it comes to bankruptcy. You may need to look at filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are pluses and minuses to both.

Medical debts are almost always unsecured debts (unlike what you owe on a car or mortgage), and so they can be completely discharged in bankruptcy. If you meet the qualifications to file Chapter 7 it can immediately wipe out your medical and credit card debt. If you can’t legally file for Chapter 7 you can file for Chapter 13 and you will have to pay back debts according to a schedule.

Another option is to do nothing. If you are living on Social Security and you don’t own a home or car, you are “judgment-proof.” Even if you are sued for non-payment of debts, the medical billers won’t be able to recover their money. They can’t take your personal possessions or your Social Security income.

The Role of a Bankruptcy Attorney in Medical Debt Cases

The best thing you can do to get out of the emotional turmoil of dealing with medical debt is to get expert legal advice and consult a Florida bankruptcy attorney today. An experienced attorney can give you a range of options and help you decide what’s best. Contact us today.