Medical debt can be discharged in bankruptcy, but you should first look into nonbankruptcy options.
If you have decent credit and are having difficulties paying a significant medical bill, you might want to look into alternative possibilities before declaring bankruptcy.
It is true that declaring bankruptcy would probably result in a decline in your credit, albeit it might not last as long as you believe. However, you can be in an even worse situation if you can’t pay the medical expense and don’t declare bankruptcy.
Here is what to anticipate.
You’ll initially start getting reminders of late payments. The medical provider could eventually sue you and win a financial judgment. Then you might not be able to undo some of the effects of bankruptcy, such as wage garnishment, a bank levy, or the placement of a lien against your property.
Options Other Than Bankruptcy for Medical Debt
If you have strong credit, you might be able to use one of these methods to pay off your hefty medical cost.
Talk a Deal With the Health Care Provider
To begin with, confirm that all insurance payment difficulties have been resolved. Consider settling with the creditor after you have obtained all applicable insurance coverage. The medical provider may deduct a portion of the fee if it was for uninsured medical expenses. Many hospitals and other healthcare organizations often waive or reduce bills for patients without insurance.
Inquire Regarding Assistance Programs
Depending on your economic level, most hospitals have assistance programs that, if you qualify, will give you free or reduced hospital care. For instance, the Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP) will pay costs for procedures that are deemed medically necessary in several jurisdictions. Additionally, federally tax-exempt non-profit hospitals may have to be lenient with you and other patients who are in financial need when it comes to medical billing. This may be relevant to you. To learn more and apply for the necessary coverage, get in touch with the financial aid counselor at your hospital.
See Managing High Medical Debts for further information on these and other choices.
Bankruptcy for Medical Debt
Your good credit may suffer since a collection action will appear on your credit report if you are unable to pay the debt and it appears that the creditor may pursue you for payment. Additionally, if the provider sues you and wins, it may garnish your pay or pursue other forms of recoupment.
In addition to erasing your debt, filing for bankruptcy will put you back on the path to financial recovery as quickly as possible.
Medical debt and Chapter 7
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best option for you if you have low income and assets with little to no equity. You are not need to have a certain amount of debt. On a single, sizable debt, you may apply for Chapter 7. Medical debt will be eliminated in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, along with the majority of other unsecured debt (debt that isn’t secured by security).
Healthcare Debt and Chapter 13
You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you don’t meet the requirements for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if you own assets that you might lose in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You will pay back the percentage of the medical debt you can afford through your repayment plan in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. At the conclusion of the case, the court will discharge (wipe out) the remainder.