Do you have a lot of unpaid medical bills?
You are certainly not alone. In fact, the reason why many Americans file for bankruptcy is due to healthcare costs. A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues either because of the cost of the care or time out of work.
Despite gains in coverage and access to care from the Affordable Care Act, the number of bankruptcies hasn’t changed. So, if you’re currently drowning in medical bills that you can’t afford, it’s time to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in New York. You shouldn’t have to choose between food and medical care.
Does Bankruptcy Wipe Away All Medical Bills?
Yes, bankruptcy eliminates all medical debt. It’s an option you’ll want to consider if you can’t afford your medical bills. Doing nothing can get you into even more trouble.
However, bankruptcy does have its consequences, so a trusted bankruptcy attorney in New York will tell you to consider other options first, especially if you have good credit. For instance, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the medical provider, or there may be assistance programs available.
If the medical provider is not willing to work with you, or there are no options for relief, then you’ll want to look into bankruptcy. Your credit is going to take a hit anyway from not paying the bills, so it’s best to protect yourself from aggressive collection tactics.
Which Type of Bankruptcy Should I File For?
There are two types of bankruptcy you can file to get rid of medical debt:
- Chapter 7. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your medical bills will be wiped out, along with other dischargeable debt. To qualify, your disposable income must be low enough to pass the Chapter 7 means test. You can learn more about this test here.
- Chapter 13. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the courts will establish a repayment plan that helps you repay some of your debt. This is a good option if you need more time to catch up on payments and plan to keep your property.
Now that you know the differences between the two types of bankruptcy, which one should you file to get rid of medical debt? A bankruptcy attorney in New York will be able to give you a more direct answer, but here’s some general advice.
If you’re unable to pay for your healthcare costs and you want to eliminate your medical bills and credit card debt, it’s best to file for Chapter 7. This will erase your debt and give you a clean slate. However, keep in mind that you will need to qualify based on your income.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, or you feel that you are able to catch back up on your payments, it’s probably best to file for Chapter 13. You’ll only be responsible for paying back a fraction of your healthcare costs so it’s a helpful alternative to Chapter 7.
Is Bankruptcy a Good Option for Eliminating Medical Debt?
Having unpaid medical bills is a primary reason why people file bankruptcy. Most families do not have enough saved up for a simple emergency, let alone thousands of dollars for unexpected healthcare costs. And while health insurance has improved, it doesn’t cover everything.
So the short answer is – yes – bankruptcy is a good option for wiping away unpaid medical bills. It’s effective and will stop all calls from the collection agencies. But it’s still important to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to assess your situation and what alternatives may be available.
If you do decide that filing for bankruptcy is the best step to take, keep in mind that you can eliminate more than just medical bills. Other debts that can be discharged include:
- Unsecured credit card debt
- Overdue utility bills
- Personal loans
- Gym contracts
- Business debts
- Lease agreements
- Civil court judgements
- Tax penalties
Talk to a Bankruptcy Lawyer in New York Today
If you’re thinking about filing for bankruptcy in NYC, contact The Law Office of William Waldner. Bankruptcy sometimes gets a bad reputation, but it’s an effective way to wipe away your debts and get a fresh start. Sometimes we need this in our lives, particularly after an unexpected medical emergency and time out of work.
Call, text or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with William Waldner. We look forward to hearing from you!