Health Crises Still Drive Many to Bankruptcy
An opinion column in USA Today reminds us that health care costs continue to send millions of Americans to bankruptcy. This might be surprising. After all, the rise of Obamacare and the expansion of Medicaid in many states should have put an end to the health care crisis in this country. But as columnist Sophia A. Nelson explains, many people with even good jobs continue to struggle to make ends meet after a medical crisis.
Health Insurance is No Guarantee You’ll Survive a Medical Crisis
According to Nelson, she had a good job with health benefits when she was involved in an accident while riding her bicycle. Her health insurance only covered part of her necessary health care, leaving her with over $50,000 in medical bills. Because of her injuries, she also could not work as much as she used to, which took an additional financial toll.
Nelson has plenty of statistics to back up her claim that health care is still too expensive for many Americans. One Gallup poll found that almost 50% were afraid they couldn’t afford their health care. Another 61% of respondents stated that rising premiums were a concern.
To make ends meet, many people are skipping treatment. About 1 in 4 American forgo medical treatment because they cannot afford it. Another third fear that a major health crisis will cause them to file for bankruptcy.
Nelson’s health crisis was devastating. She burned through her savings and her retirement accounts just to cover bills. Fortunately, Nelson managed to survive her health scare by relying on friend and family members for loans. She also filed for bankruptcy.
How Bankruptcy Can Help You after a Medical Crisis
One option consumers with a lot of medical debt have is to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This bankruptcy has many advantages, including speed. You can typically file and get your debts discharged within a few months.
Chapter 7 can wipe out unsecured debt, like credit cards and medical debt. You can’t get rid of all debt, such as your home mortgage or other debts backed by assets as collateral. However, for those in a medical crisis, bankruptcy provides a fresh financial start.
When should you file? This is a key question those with medical debts should ask their attorneys. Only debts incurred before filing will be erased, which means someone who is continuing to receive pricey medical care should wait until they have reached maximum medical improvement. If you file too soon, you will still be on the hook for all the bills you incurred after filing for Chapter 7 protection.
Has a Medical Crisis Devastated Your Finances?
At Nowack & Olson, our Plantation Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys have deep experience helping those with medical bankruptcies. We will review your finances to determine which debts you can discharge and help you file paperwork. Once you file, your creditors should stop contacting you.
To get the ball rolling, please reach out to us today. We offer a free initial consultation to those who call 888-813-4737.