Can filing for bankruptcy help me deal with medical debt in California?
Dealing with insurmountable medical debt can be a frightening experience for any Californian. Indeed, an unforeseen medical emergency can often be a double-edge sword – not only do medical bills begin to pile up, but if the emergency is significant, the victim may be left unable to work and earn an income. As a result, when tragedy strikes, it is easy for even the most financially conscious individual to fall prey to medical debt.
Additionally, just because an individual has health insurance does not necessarily insulate him or her from hefty medical bills. In fact, as health insurance premiums rise, many people elect higher deductibles in order to keep their monthly payments low. Sadly, this indicates that their out-of-pocket expenses will remain quite high if they do need significant medical care – meaning they are still at risk of succumbing to substantial medical debt.
To add insult to injury, debt collectors are well known for their ability to harass those buried in debt, even those struggling to recuperate following an unexpected trip to the hospital. Fortunately, there are options available to Californians besieged with medical debt – the most notable of which being bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy: A viable option for Californians struggling with medical debt
According to past studies published in the American Journal of Medicine, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies are related in some way to medical debt.
This particular statistic not only illustrates the pervasiveness of medical debt in today’s world, but also demonstrates how common it is for people to come to the realization that bankruptcy is the best possible option for dealing with debt. Indeed, it is important to think of bankruptcy not as a bad thing, but as a way of obtaining a fresh financial start.
For instance, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be used to eliminate several forms of unsecured debt, such as those debts related to medical and credit card bills. Importantly, many individuals who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to exempt much of their property from the bankruptcy estate, which means they are permitted to keep the property following the bankruptcy process.
Alternatively, individuals may be able to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which typically involves some type of repayment plan, although many unsecured debts, such as medical bills, may be reduced or even eliminated.
If you are considering bankruptcy as a way of dealing with unmanageable medical debt, it is important not to delay. You should contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. A knowledgeable attorney can fully explain your rights and clarify how the bankruptcy process can help you get back on your feet.