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Medical Bills Cited More Frequently in Woodland Hills Bankruptcy

Blogs from August, 2011


A recent article looks at the recovery of 42-year-old San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow‚ who was severely beaten March 31 at Dodger Stadium during the opening day game between the Giants and Dodgers.

His story shows how a person can be affected by an unexpected medical bill that can turn their financial life upside down. For people who are struggling with debt‚ a medical bill is unwanted news because the situation gets worse. Even people who have little debt can be hit so hard by medical bills and costs that they must seek protection from bankruptcy in Woodland Hills. If the bill is so overwhelming that they can’t move on with life‚ consulting with an experienced Woodland Hills Bankruptcy Lawyer can help.

Stow is best known for being the victim of the severe beating at the baseball game and since that event five months ago‚ he has been in different hospitals‚ battling infections‚ a coma‚ skull fracture and other ailments after undergoing several surgeries. He has battled fevers — some as high as 104 degrees — along with new infections.

It’s unclear at this point how much this man’s medical bills may cost‚ but there’s no doubt they will reach into the millions. With around-the-clock care‚ life-saving surgeries and transfers between hospitals‚ he is looking at a hefty bill. While he has gotten many donations — from fans‚ players and others — most people aren’t so lucky.

The media coverage that Stow’s incident got has certainly helped — even famed Giants slugger Barry Bonds agreed to cover the college costs for Stow’s two children — but the average person diagnosed with cancer or who gets badly hurt in a car accident doesn’t usually get the same type of support.

For those people‚ the medical bills are life-altering and can be painful even after the physical pain is gone. Hospitals are quick to hire collection agencies to get payments — and they begin seeking payment a few weeks after a person leaves a hospital. With the issues surrounding health care and insurance costs in this country‚ the issue isn’t going away anytime soon.

A recent New York Times article reports that about 20 percent of people seeking financial counseling and filing for bankruptcy are citing medical bills as the chief reason‚ according to a recent report out of Atlanta.

The article states that the non-profit credit counseling agency tracked 100‚000 people in 2009 and 2010 and another 47‚000 this year. The number who say medical bills are the reason for filing for bankruptcy is up about 12 to 13 percent over the last two years.

Job loss is certainly a factor. If people have lost their jobs‚ they have lost health coverage and out-of-pocket costs for coverage are astronomical. So‚ many people decline to pay it and hope they don’t get sick or injured.

Researchers also found that people are hesitant to default on medical bills because they feel the people helped them get better. Instead‚ they’ll take out a new credit card in order to satisfy the hospital or medical bills‚ which just adds to their own debt problems. People‚ in general‚ go out of their way to pay off medical bills.

If a person does have a job and has basic health coverage but gets slammed with an unexpected medical bill‚ the debt may be too overwhelming to continue paying and trying to survive financially. Set up a meeting with a Woodland Hills Bankruptcy Lawyer to discuss all the options. You shouldn’t be punished for being sick.

Cal West Law will provide a free consultation to help guide you in making a decision that works for you. In Encino‚ Glendale‚ and Woodland Hills‚ just call (800) 568-0707.

Additional Resources:

Medical Debt Cited More Often in Bankruptcies‚ by Ann Carrns‚ The New York Times

Injured Giants fan Bryan Stow suffers setback in recovery‚ by Jessica Pasko‚ San Jose Mercury News

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