When Your Medical Bills Get too Large to Bare

US Navy 060607-N-9437R-297 A U.S. Navy nurse, ...

US Navy 060607-N-9437R-297 A U.S. Navy nurse, Lt. Tara Collins, shows local Jolo healthcare providers a new Intensive Care Unit patient monitoring system on board the U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) Hospital ship USNS Mercy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Medical expenses are quickly becoming one of the leading sources for bankruptcy fillings. Medical bills are not going to do anything but escalate in the foreseeable future. So, what can you do when your medical bills get too large to bare?

Depending on your financial situation, there are a number of things you can do about your medical bills. Here are some possible solutions to your medical bills you might try:

  • Negotiate payment terms with your medical provider. Most states have laws that prevent some healthcare providers, like county, state, or local hospitals, from refusing to work with you in making payments for past bills. As long as you make some type of payment,  some healthcare providers cannot file lawsuits against you, especially if they receive any type of public tax funds to operate the facility.

    In some cases, you can negotiate interest free monthly payments on your medical debts. The time it will take you to pay the principal amount is also negotiable. These types of debt payments can usually be arranged by visiting with the accounting department of your health care provider, and you normally do not need a lawyer to make these types of arrangements. Just ask to see if terms can be negotiated. The worse they can do is say no.

  • Seek out the possibilities for forgiveness of the debt. If you can prove undue hardship, meaning you cannot possibly pay off your medical bills, you can seek to have your debts forgiven. You can do that by either asking the healthcare institution to forgive the debt after explaining your case to them, or you can seek formal forgiveness through a civil court that can relieve you of the responsibility to pay.

  • Seek outside sources for help in paying your medical bills. There are numerous state, county, local, and charitable institutions that can help pay medical expenses under certain circumstances.

  • File for bankruptcy protection. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file, you can have your medical bills from either private or public healthcare providers completely discharged.

    Some healthcare providers, especially when they are privately owned or managed, will aggressively seek to collect their debts. Some will even seek to get a judgment in court so they can garnish your wages or attach other assets to satisfy the debts.

    Filing for bankruptcy protection will halt the effects of any lawsuit in its tracks. The automatic stay of bankruptcy immediately prevents collection actions from going forward and stops garnishments. Once the medical debt has been discharged in bankruptcy, the healthcare providers cannot legally come back on you to collect on their debts, and garnishments for the debt cannot be allowed again for that particular debt.

When medical bills get too large to bare, don’t panic, because you have options to choose from in taking care of the bills once and for all. It is not a crime to owe people money, and they do not put you in jail because you do. If you think you might file bankruptcy to handle your medical bills, remember that bankruptcy laws are complicated and may require the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer in understanding the laws.

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