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Medical Bills Remain a Major Cause of Bankruptcies

Medical bills past due

Surprise medical expenses can happen to anyone without warning. For the average person—even one with medical insurance—the sudden cost of thousands of dollars in bills for medical care isn’t something they can easily afford. In fact, many people face these circumstances and are unable to recover financially from the combination of being unable to work due to illness and owing thousands of dollars in medical expenses. Even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, medical expenses remain one of the most common reasons that Americans file for bankruptcy each year.

Health insurance doesn’t prevent medical bankruptcies

Individuals who receive health insurance through their employer can feel a pinch from rising health care costs. As the costs of health care rise, many employers are passing those increased costs along to their employees in the form of requiring those employees to pay a greater share of monthly health care premiums.  Employers are also implementing plans with larger deductibles and higher out-of-pocket maximums per year.

What can you do about overwhelming medical expenses?

If you have begun falling behind on your medical bills, try not to panic.  Many hospitals and medical offices are willing to negotiate on the amount of money they accept to settle your debts. Some hospitals even offer grant or charity programs that will cover all or part of the bills of qualified applicants.

Try not to wait too long before approaching your doctor or hospital billing office about a possible settlement. Once the provider sends your account to collections, it may become more difficult to negotiate a lower amount.  However, if it has become clear that you will need to file for bankruptcy, you may want to wait until your health has improved if you can. That way, you will have a better chance at having a truly clean slate after your bankruptcy is concluded, rather than having medical bills not included in the bankruptcy.

If you are facing a great deal of consumer or medical debt in Alabama and need help deciding if you should file for bankruptcy, contact the dedicated and compassionate Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys at the Dansby Law Firm for a consultation, at 334-834-7001.

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