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The Burden of Medical Bills: Seeking a Debt-Free Diagnosis

The emotional distress associated with caring for a loved one with a medical condition or dealing with your own diagnosis can be cumbersome. The additional financial burden of hospital visits, prescription medications, lost wages, high deductibles and unforeseen costs can be unbearable—leaving many individuals and families hopeless. What do you do when the medical bills are too much? How can you focus on healing, on improving the health of your loved ones when the bill collectors are calling and the envelopes stamped with “past due” are piling up on the dining room table? This is the dilemma facing millions of American families today as they desperately seek a remedy to the overwhelming burden of medical debt.

The Numbers

A recent joint study by The New York Times (www.nytimes.com) and the Kaiser Family Foundation (https://kff.org) found that 1 in 5 people under the age of 65, with health insurance, reported difficulty paying their medical bills over the past year. The figure more than doubled, to fifty-three percent, for individuals without health insurance. Additional studies from the Center for Disease Control and Preventions’ National Health Interview Study concur. The burden associated with medical bills is a big problem for American families. In fact, one in three American families currently have some type of unpaid medical debt (Cohen, 2014).

Seeking a Debt-Free Diagnosis

Achieving freedom from the burden of debt can be intimidating, but truth is, it begins with a choice—a decision to be debt-free. After a decision is made to improve the health of your unique financial situation, it is time to evaluate your options. Typically, there are three prescriptions to achieving relief from the undue stress of medical debt: increased debt-to-income ratio, debt negotiation, and filing for relief through bankruptcy.

In order to be debt-free without any assistance, you must ultimately increase the amount of income you have relative to your total debt. Unfortunately, this is not possible if the household income is reduced due to a personal or family medical condition.

Debt negotiation may be a practical option for individuals or families who have a “pool” of money available to settle their medical debt. If you are fortunate enough to have an emergency savings or an inheritance, a licensed bankruptcy attorney could potentially work with your creditors to negotiate the balance of your debt, settling for a percentage of the original bill. It is important, however, to note that debt negotiation is not overseen by the Court and results cannot be guaranteed. Further, depending upon the amount of the debt settled there could be tax consequences. You should seek counsel from a licensed attorney and your tax advisor prior to moving forward with any negotiation of medical bill debt.

The last option, and let’s face it for many the last resort, is to file for bankruptcy. The myths surrounding bankruptcy often leaves patients and families burdened with medical debt afraid, feeling like suffering with the debt is their only option. Truth is, bankruptcy is the best option for most families suffering with the increased stress of medical bills. Filing for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows individuals to petition the Court for relief, eliminating all past due medical bills. Attorney Daniel Foster, President of Foster Law Offices, LLC has aided hundreds of individuals and families suffering with medical debt. “It is heart breaking to see families fighting for their loved ones then coming home to deal with the harassing phone calls of creditors. We obviously cannot help with any physical ailments, but we can help relieve the burden of medical debt, helping you get the debt-free diagnosis you deserve.

About Foster Law Offices, LLC

Founded in 2009, Foster Law Offices, LLC (www.mrdebtbuster.com) is exclusively dedicated to the practice of bankruptcy legal services—helping individuals and small businesses receive the debt relief they deserve through bankruptcy. Every day they meet with individuals, families and business owners who are suffering with medical debt.

If you are suffering from mounting medical bills and looking for a debt-free diagnosis, the licensed bankruptcy attorneys at Foster Law Offices, LLC in Warren, PA can help. To learn more, call 814-724-1165 or online at www.mrdebtbuster.com to schedule a free consultation. A licensed Pennsylvania attorney will sit down with you to review your situation and determine whether bankruptcy is an appropriate solution.

Foster Law Offices, LLC has offices conveniently located in Erie, Meadville, Franklin, Mercer, New Castle, Warren and Pittsburgh.

Disclaimer: Foster Law Offices, LLC is a debt relief agency, helping people file for relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

Cohen RA, Kirzinger WK. Financial burden of medical care: A family perspective. NCHS data brief, no 142. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2014.