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Medical Bankruptcy from a Coronavirus Infection


The novel coronavirus behind the current pandemic affects people in different ways. Some, like actor Tom Hanks, report only feeling tired. Others end up in the hospital on a ventilator and stay there for weeks before being discharged. Though the fatality rate is still relatively low (around 2%), many people can survive only after receiving expensive medical care.

How expensive? According to The Hill, patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) are looking at $20,000-70,000 in expenses. And don’t expect the government to help you. Currently, different bills have forced health insurers to cover the cost of testing and any future vaccine, if one gets developed. However, they have not forced insurers to fully absorb the cost of care. And many Americans still are without health insurance.

Deductibles & Coinsurance

Even the insured could face staggering out-of-pocket expenses. For example, many insured people have large deductibles—well over $5,000. This amount needs to be covered by a patient before the insurance picks up any of the tab.

And when insurance finally kicks in, many Floridians will be shocked at how little insurance covers. Coinsurance is the percentage of care that a patient is responsible for. Many health insurance plans require that insureds pay 20-40% of the cost of care. Insurers also have caps that kick in when an insured has received a certain dollar amount in care.

Of the possible $70,000 that it costs to be treated in the ICU, a patient with coronavirus could be responsible for well over 50% of that amount. This is simply too much for many people to afford. Should you receive care out of network, then you could end up paying much more in hospital bills.

Job Loss Compounds Problems

In just the last week, over 3 million Americans filed for unemployment, and the numbers could grow. Congress has tried to help a little, but their benefits are mere fingers in a leaky dike. For example, most adults will qualify for a one-time stimulus check for $1,200. Unemployment benefits are also available, which one Senator called unemployment benefits “on steroids.” However, those last for only 4 months.

Many Floridians are struggling already with large bills already, including expensive housing costs. Unfortunately, a stint in the ICU for coronavirus could wreck many family’s finances.

Is Bankruptcy Right for You?

Fortunately, most medical bills can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This takes only a few months to complete, and you can also wipe out other unsecured debts like credit card bills or personal loans. To qualify, you must pass a means test, but many people with few assets do.

If you or a loved one is in the hospital for coronavirus, now might be the time to consider your financial options for clearing out debt. Please contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC today. Our Plantation bankruptcy attorneys will review your situation and help you come up with a game plan that works for you and your family. Call us today at 888-813-4737 to schedule a confidential, free consultation.




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