Monday, September 14, 2015
Bankruptcy and Medical Debt
Despite the government’s attempts to initiate affordable care, millions of Americans have no medical insurance. As a result, many people are forced into personal bankruptcy when they are unable to pay their looming medical bills.
Medical issues and problems within a family can lead to unexpected and unplanned medical expenses. Even if a person has medical health insurance coverage, the individual will have to pay a portion of the bills outstanding (while the plan pays part of the remaining expenses). Those medical bills may run in the tens of thousands of dollars. If the hospital or healthcare provider transfers the billing invoice over to a collection agency, the patient who incurred the bills may have to pay additional processing fees above and beyond what is owed on the original billing statement.
A person who is overwhelmed with medical bills can try to arrange payments on the outstanding medical bills. Another option is to dispute the validity of the charges. The problem with this option is usually the several thousands of dollars in cost to hire consultants. If neither of these are viable options, perhaps bankruptcy is the answer.
No one should ever have to file bankruptcy due to illness or in the aftermath of an accident, but it happens. Medical expenses make up a sizable chunk of debt on bankruptcy filings. Healthcare is big business, and administrators and hospitals will not usually just forgive expenses.
Bankruptcy can be a less expensive alternative. Getting providers to agree to reductions and fighting the validity of charges are somewhat “long shot” options, limited by the expenses involved. Healthcare providers will often reduce expenses only when ordered to do so by a judge – after a trial. That, in and of itself, is a huge expense. Even hiring an auditor to verify the reasonableness of the charges comes at a price.
The Gouner Law Office is experienced in Louisiana bankruptcy law and can help you with your individual case. Call the offices at (225) 293-6200 or Toll Free at (800) 404-1921.
--Written by Poppy Johnson