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Borrowing to pay medical debts creates new potential risks. A debt that was easy to discharge in bankruptcy becomes one that you often can’t. 

About one-fourth (26%) of American adults (18-64 years old) reported that they or someone in their household had problems paying medical bills during the previous year. This is according to a 2016 survey by the highly reputable Kaiser Family Foundation, The Burden of Medical Debt. Not surprisingly, more than half of people who did not have health insurance reported such problems. However, more than one-fifth of people who had health insurance still had trouble paying medical bills. So if your medical bills are a challenge for you, you are clearly not alone.

You may have options short of borrowing money to pay off the medical debts. It’s worth contacting the medical creditor—as early as possible—to find out their payment alternatives. Sometimes interest-free repayment plans are available. In some situations, medical providers are willing to negotiate a settlement with you reducing the balance. Especially if you are uninsured, you might even qualify for financial assistance.

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san antonio bankruptcy attorneyEven though legally, there’s no such thing as a medical bankruptcy, many bankruptcies are caused by medical problems. Here’s a Q&A about these.  

In the last two weeks, we’ve written about health insurance. Two weeks ago, we discussed the six months of free health insurance provided by the recent American Rescue Plan Act.  Last week we got into the broader topic of health insurance and bankruptcy. Today we broaden it out even more with a Q&A about medical bankruptcy. 

What is Medical Bankruptcy, Legally?

Although the phrase is thrown around a lot, legally, there is no such thing. The legally designated types of bankruptcy are labeled according to their Chapters in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7, the so-called “straight bankruptcy,” and Chapter 13 “adjustment of debts,” are the most common forms of personal bankruptcy. Both Chapter 7 and 13 can deal effectively with medical debts and other financial problems arising from medical events. 

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

san Antonio bankruptcy attorneyHaving health insurance is extremely important. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you get and keep your health insurance.

Last week we discussed the 6 months of free health insurance provided by the recent American Rescue Plan Act.  It may apply to you if you lost your job and your health insurance with it. If this applies to you please check out that blog post. 

Today’s blog post gets into the broader topic of health insurance and bankruptcy. 

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medical-debtMost of the time, a person files for bankruptcy because it is the last option for bills that cannot be paid. After all, a bankruptcy on your record can diminish your credit score and make it difficult to borrow money for items like a house or a car for years. When a person files for bankruptcy, it is because they have exhausted all other options. Unfortunately for many Americans, the thing driving them to file for bankruptcy is medical debt. According to CNBC, 66.5 of all bankruptcies filed in the United States between 2013 and 2016 were tied to medical issues such as high costs for medical care or taking time off of work for medical reasons. If you have found yourself in the precarious situation of too much medical debt, here are a few things you should know before you file for bankruptcy:

Your Medical Debt is Dischargeable in Bankruptcies

Here is the good news -- medical debt is dischargeable in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The type of bankruptcy you file for will entirely depend on your financial situation and which option would make more sense. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy would completely eliminate your medical debt, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would reorganize your debt into manageable payments.

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bankruptcy filing, credit scores, impending bankruptcy, medical debt, San Antonio bankruptcy attorney, Texas bankruptcy attorney, unemploymentAmericans file for bankruptcy each year as the result of owing more money to creditors than can actually be paid. While often times the term “bankruptcy” is stigmatized and correlated with poor spending habits and large credit card bills, the truth is it is a necessary practice for economic relief in dire times.

Most people who file for bankruptcy are not irresponsible, nor are they trying to use the process as a means of simply walking away from their debt. US News stated in an article, citing a study by The Bureau of Labor Statistics, that as of April 2012 more than 5.2 million people across the country had been unemployed for six months or more. In addition to unemployment as a factor, money lost due to divorce is also a large contributor to outstanding debt, as well as medical expenses.

There are several other common misconceptions about bankruptcy filing and those who file. Consider the following misunderstood and misinterpreted bankruptcy concepts everyone should know:

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