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What You Need to Know About Medical Debt and Bankruptcy

What You Need to Know About Medical Debt and Bankruptcy

By Hampton & Pigott
Posted on 1-5-2022

Medical problems usually occur unexpectedly. Hopefully you have an emergency fund set aside for situations like this, but not everyone has the circumstances to do that. If you do not have an emergency fund to draw from to cover medical expenses, credit cards are often used to front the bill. If you struggle to pay off those debts, fees and interest can pile up, making medical bills even more burdensome.

If that situation sounds all too familiar to you, we feel for you. But what can you do when you feel like you are drowning in medical debt? Relief can come by filing for bankruptcy. Allow us to explain how.

Understanding the Differences Between Secured and Unsecured Debt

First, you need to understand the nature of medical debt. Medical debt is categorized as unsecured debt. This basically means that there is no tangible collateral behind medical debt.

Secured debts, on the other hand, are debts that have collateral. They are things like house and car loans. If a debtor cannot pay back the lender, the lender can seize the property. The lenders are secured because they can get their money back.

With unsecured debts, however, creditors are not able to get their money back in this way. When you receive medical services, there is no tangible object that can be returned to the creditor.

There are several bankruptcy filing routes you can take to wipe away or decrease unsecured medical debts.

Chapter 7

One option is to file Chapter 7. Doing this will absolve all of your medical debt. There is no repayment plan along with filing this way and there is no dollar limit on how much debt relief you can get.

Chapter 13

Another option is filing Chapter 13. The difference here is that unlike Chapter 7, there is a debt limit and filing this way will require a repayment plan. With Chapter 13 filings, all your debt will be lumped together and a good majority of it will be dismissed. Then based on your income, bills, and expenses a repayment plan will be created for you to pay off the remainder of your debts. The percentage of debt that you will need to repay will vary from person to person based on numerous financial factors.

Getting free from the burdens of medical debt can be difficult. Filing for bankruptcy can help. If you are not sure if this is the step that you need to take or you are not sure what you should file ​ under, contact our financial attorneys at Hampton & Pigott today. We can guide you towards the decision that makes the most sense for you. Let us help you get back on your feet.