Getting sick can be very expensive. Many of the bankruptcy cases I file here in Arizona have a large amount of medical bills. And things don’t look to be getting any better. I just renewed my health insurance for my family and not only did my monthly premium go up but by deductible is still sky high.
Most of us are one serious illness or accident away from an avalanche of medical debt. The good news is if you have a safety net. Generally all medical debts are unsecured debts – meaning that there is no collateral or property securing the debt. In chapter 7 bankruptcy medical debts and most unsecured debts are completely eliminated.
In a chapter 13 bankruptcy you are required to make a monthly payment through the bankruptcy court that will go to your creditors – including your medical debts.
What About Medical Debts I Get After Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy will eliminate your medical bills for medical services that you receive before your bankruptcy case is filed. Generally debts you incur after your bankruptcy case is filed with the court will not be eliminated and you will need to make payment arrangements with the health care provider.
Can My Doctor Refuse to See Me if I File for Bankruptcy?
If you owe your doctor money, file bankruptcy, and don’t pay your doctor; your doctor is not required to continue to treat you. If you have significant medical bills and will need ongoing medical treatment you will need to come to some arrangement to pay your doctor, or alternatively you will need to find a new doctor to treat you.
A common scenario my clients run into is when a child has braces. If you want those braces to come off some day it will be necessary to come to some payment arrangement with the orthodontist.
In short, if you find yourself in a pit of medical bills, there is hope. There is a way out.