Avoiding medical debt
Medical debt can be a major source of financial hardship for Georgia residents who have recently been injured or seriously ill. Even for minor medical needs, bills can add up and become overwhelming quickly, especially when combined with other financial obligations. One of the major reasons why people end up in serious medical debt is because of a lack of health insurance coverage.
This is a particularly big problem for young people or others without health benefits through their employer. Buying individual insurance policies can be very expensive and health individuals often forgo coverage that seems too expensive to justify the benefit. Still, most financial planning experts would agree that some minimal coverage is worth the expense, particularly when an accident or serious illness keeps you away from work.
When assessing the need for minimal coverage, many people don’t realize how quickly a medical bill can go from the hundreds of dollars to several thousand dollars. Tests like MRIs and blood sample analysis tests that are used to diagnose patients can be very expensive, particularly because individual patients don’t benefit from discounted pricing offered to health insurance companies. Even a high deductible plan that covers costs after $1,000 or more can save patients from serious financial distress later on.
Medical bills can be discharged through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing because of their status as unsecured debt (meaning that the debt is not tied to collateral like a house or personal property). Settling medical bills through the bankruptcy process can help end the stress of collections calls and make it easier to move forward in recovering from the illness or injury.
Source: US News & World Report, “5 Ways to Avoid Medical Debt,” Ben Edwards, Feb. 28, 2013
Information about unpaid medical bills and bankruptcy can be found on our website.