A recent study by NerdWallet.com revealed that medical bills have become the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.
Researchers further went on to say that 56 million Americans under the age of 65 will have trouble paying their medical bills this year.
Is bankruptcy the only way out?
Our Los Angeles Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys want our clients to make informed decisions about how to best approach their debt in a way that is going to lead to the best financial outcome long-term.
In a lot of cases‚ people with sky-high medical debt are never going to have any real hope of being able to repay what they owe. That includes even those who had health insurance. It isn’t a symptom of an irresponsible consumer‚ it’s a symptom of an ailing health care system.
In many of those instances‚ we recommend the person file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Doing so will allow you to wipe those debts clean and get back on track with a clean bill of financial health.
However‚ there may be some cases when it could be worth trying to work something out with your health care provider. Our firm is experienced in providing help with bankruptcy alternatives as well‚ including debt consolidation and debt settlement.
With medical bills‚ there may be some specific steps we can take to help negotiate lower payments or a reduced pay-off amount. For example‚ relief might be found in the federal Hill-Burton Act. This measure allows that a certain amount of federal funding will be funneled to hospitals‚ nursing homes and other health care facilities annually‚ in exchange for their offering of free or reduced care to those who would otherwise be unable to pay.
You are still eligible to apply for this relief even after your bill has been turned over to a collection agency.
If you aren’t yet behind on your payments‚ but know you will be‚ it can help to have your attorney draft a letter directly to the health care provider‚ be it a hospital or doctor or lab. You can request that medical co-pays be waived and that your bill be considered paid in full. Your attorney will include in this request a copy of the explanation of benefits and remind the provider that the majority of the cost has been covered by your insurance provider.
If the health care provider is unable or unwilling to do this‚ a second letter can be sent requesting a specific‚ manageable monthly payment option.
It’s worth noting that the more health care providers you owe‚ the tougher time you will have getting those bills to resemble anything that will be manageable. What we don’t want you to do is worry yourself sick about not being able to pay. Bankruptcy law was practically written for such circumstances.
We are committed to evaluating your case on an individual basis and helping you determine the solution that is going to work best for you.
If you are contemplating bankruptcy in Los Angeles‚ contact Cal West Law to schedule your free consultation. Call (818) 446-1334.
How to pay huge medical bills on small income‚ June 14‚ 2012‚ By Steve Bucci‚ Bankrate.com