Filing Bankruptcy for Medical Debt

A serious concern of many Americans is their medical financial situation. It is difficult to pay off extensive medical debt and other costs that are incurred while receiving medical care. Mesa Bankruptcy Lawyers can provide you with experienced legal representation, information, and assistance if you need guidance as you work through medical debt. 

Medical debt can be wiped out through bankruptcy, but will your Doctor eliminate you as a patient?

The U.S. spent around $3.5 trillion on health expenses, more than any other country in the world. Some experts predict that the average healthcare cost per person in the U.S. will be about $15,000 by 2023. Many individuals are dealing with overwhelming medical bills. In fact, approximately 25% of bankruptcy cases include significant medical debt. 

Will your medical provider drop you after you file for bankruptcy?

A legitimate and common concern is not knowing if a person will lose their doctor if they file bankruptcy to discharge medical debt owed.

Doctor bills are unsecured debt, and can be eliminated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you file bankruptcy and owe money to your doctor, this debt would be listed in your bankruptcy petition. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to change physicians. 

The short answer is, in an emergency medical situation, regardless of the ability to pay or insurance status, everyone is entitled to initial treatment. A federal law called the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act ensures that anyone who seeks medical attention in an emergency department be stabilized and treated. 

When dealing with a non-emergency health provider (including primary physician) may refuse treatment if their fees have been discharged in a bankruptcy. Most medical providers, however, do understand why clients need bankruptcy protection when faced with overwhelming medical debt. Many physicians continue to keep patients as long as they show willingness to pay for future visits. Also, if a medical bill cannot be paid on time, it is crucial that your hospital or doctor’s office be notified immediately. Also, the facility should be able to give you insight on what would happen to your patient status if you do file bankruptcy. 

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