Eliminating Medical Bills through Bankruptcy in New York City

Medical debt will spawn almost two million bankruptcies in the United States this year according to data compiled from the CDC, U.S. Census, and Federal Bankruptcy Courts.  In New York City, unpaid doctor bills are as much a cause of Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings as credit card bills, personal loans or bad mortgages.  It’s not just the uninsured either; 10 million insured Americans will be faced with medical bills they will have trouble paying despite their insurance coverage this year.

For our clients in New York City that are already struggling financially a big doctor bill with a high deductible can be enough to break the bank.  Depending on the insurance plan and medical procedure you could be looking at over $5,000 plus for your out of pocket payment.  Even with health coverage this is a hefty and usually unexpected expense for many people.  Throw in some toxic credit card debt or little bad luck and you could find yourself struggling to pay your regular monthly bills quickly.  It’s a sad situation that has become all too common in recent years.  Fortunately however, bankruptcy protection was created to help individuals with unmanageable debt, and the process is especially useful for getting rid of medical bills.

There is no choice to receiving the medical treatment you need.  It’s a must have.  Unlike luxury items or cash advances there is really no way for your creditors or the trustee to argue that you had heart surgery or filed bankruptcy for pleasure or monetary gain. For this and other reasons medical debt is the easiest of all debt to eliminate in bankruptcy.  Medical debts are given no special treatment in bankruptcy.  They are considered non-priority general unsecured debts, which basically means they get paid last.  In fact almost all of your unsecured debts including the full amount of your medical bills will likely be discharged in full in your bankruptcy.  In a Chapter 7 there is also no limit to the amount of medical debt you can get rid of.  After your court issued discharge no one will ever know if you eliminated $15,000 or $500,000 of toxic medical debt.  So while your credit may take a slight hit when you file bankruptcy, if you are already hearing from collectors anyway then getting a complete fresh start through bankruptcy might be your best option.

If you or a family member is sick or injured the most important thing to focus on is physical recovery not how to pay the medical bills.  This stress will not help your physical well being.  Destroying your personal savings, racking up more credit card debt or delaying your other bills to pay medical debt is unnecessary and sad.  Some clients have gone so far as to refuse further medical treatment or postpone prescription refills because they simply can’t afford the bills they already have.  Realize if you are in this position that bankruptcy protection was developed to help people in debt and that as a society we believe in giving second chances when needed.  Let us help.  If you live in New York City contact the Law Offices of William Waldner online or at 212.244.2882 to arrange a free consultation.  We help all New Yorkers with affordable bankruptcy assistance and maintain a 99% Chapter 7 discharge record in New York City as of 8/31/16.  Our clients know exactly what to expect before filing.

This article is intended for educational purposes only.  By reading this article no attorney-client relationship has been created.