While there are times when a person’s health should take priority over virtually all other affairs, debt incurred as a result of addressing medical concerns can lead one to a financial graveyard. The anxiety and stress associated with mounting medical and hospital bills can take its toll at a time when your health problems make you particularly vulnerable. Recent studies have made it clear that medical and hospital debt is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy filings. Fortunately, such debts are readily dischargeable under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Sometimes it is a catastrophic illness necessitating a lengthy hospital stay. Other times, it can be medical procedures or rehabilitation therapy performed without medical insurance. Many people burdened with crippling medical debt actually have health insurance, but are unable to pay the deductibles, co-pays, out-of-network charges, etc. Some seriously ill people with medical coverage are unable to continue with it because they are no longer able to work and cannot afford the COBRA payments. In addition, health insurance companies are famous for denying coverage due to an alleged pre-existing condition, either real or imagined. The reasons leading to overwhelming medical and hospital debt can be many and varied, and financial troubles are the last thing that is needed when trying to recover and rebound from health issues.
The Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “ObamaCare”) is not slated to go into effect (for the most part) until 2014. The short-term effects of this sweeping legislation on escalating medical debt will not be seen for a while, and its long-term effect on this growing problem is uncertain at the present time. However, anyone who counts on government action to solve their problems is generally destined for disappointment. Just because your medical debt resulted from circumstances beyond your control, does not mean that you cannot now take charge and effectively deal with it. A bankruptcy filing is frequently the answer to this frustrating problem.
Medical debt is unsecured debt, meaning that none of your property is put up as collateral to insure its repayment. Accordingly, there is nothing for medical and hospital creditors to repossess. However, this equation can change rapidly if the creditor sues you and obtains a judgment against you. A Judgment Creditor automatically acquires a lien on your real estate (i.e. your house) located in the county where the judgment is recorded, and in many instances a Judgment Creditor can garnishee your salary, seize funds in your bank account or have the Sheriff sell certain of your assets. While still reeling from health problems, this is the last thing that you need! Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys located near Sullivan County, New York can skillfully guide you through the process and obtain a discharge from the obligation to repay the onerous hospital and medical bills that are haunting you. If at all possible, it is best to have all of your medical treatment concluded before filing bankruptcy, because debt incurred after a bankruptcy filing, including medical debt, is not covered by your bankruptcy discharge. If there are certain physicians who you must continue to see after even after a bankruptcy filing, in some circumstances arrangements can be made to accommodate this. To explore this and all other issues relating to your overwhelming medical debt you should contact our experienced bankruptcy lawyers near Monticello, New York and schedule a free office consultation so that we can evaluate your situation.