1. Money
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Bankruptcy and Medical Bills

Steps You Can Take Before Filing Bankruptcy Because of Medical Bills


The terms bankruptcy and health care go hand and hand. Startling estimates have found that more than 60% of bankruptcy filings are for medical bills. Even more startling is that the people filing for bankruptcy for medical bills are not just the uninsured but people that did indeed have health insurance.

Not everyone wants to file bankruptcy for their medical bills. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to avoid filing bankruptcy because of health care medical bills.

3 Steps to Take for Avoiding Bankruptcy Because of Health Care Medical Bills

1. Get Health Insurance: Yes, some bankruptcy filings for medical bills are from insured households but for the most part, these filings are due to people being under insured. So, if you currently don't have health insurance it is important you try every way you can to acquire it. And, make sure you are covered adequately. Yes, it may seem now that you can't afford the cost of health insurance but really, you can't afford not to buy it. If you are unemployed or have a limited income, you may qualify for a state program or at least your children will. And, if you just have too many other things you are paying for, please find what you can cut from your budget so you can afford health insurance.

2. Check Your Bill: Medical bill errors are very common. Make sure you get an itemized bill from every medical provider and make sure you did receive the treatment that is stated on those bills. This may take some time but could save you thousands. If you don't understand everything on your bill then call the provider and ask. They have an obligation to make sure you understand what you have been billed for.

3. Don't Charge Your Medical Bills or Transfer Them to Another Loan: This is a very important step. You can set up payments through the hospital or medical provider but once you charge the amount on a credit card or get a loan for them you are on your own. And worse yet, if you get a home equity loan then you could lose your house! The hospital will work with you on payments and the worst that will happen is that they will send your account to a collection agency. All they will do is bug you to collect on the bill. No one can take your home or put you in jail. Just keep working on making a payment plan with the providers. In addition to negotiating the payment plan you can even negotiate the lowering of your bill.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.