In a previous post, we began looking at the issue of surprise medical bills, and medical debt in general. As we noted, it is important for consumers of health care services to understand the coverage their plan offers and to be careful about selecting in-network providers.
In addition to understanding one’s plan coverage and checking provider participation in one’s insurance plan, patients should also be aware that some states do provide protection from unexpected out-of-network bills. When medical bills become unmanageable, though, and there is no way to negotiate with the provider about the debt, patients should know that they do have options for debt relief.
Debt relief for medical bills includes several non-bankruptcy options, including debt repayment plans, but when medical bills really stack up, bankruptcy might be the only realistic option. Consulting with an experienced attorney can help give a debtor determine whether bankruptcy is right for them, and if so, which form of bankruptcy.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help ensure a debtor is accurate in his or her filing, and that he or she is able to avoid and defend against accusations of fraud, should they arise. Medical debt may be discharged in both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but the debtor must meet specific requirements.
In any bankruptcy case, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to receive guidance throughout the process and to ensure the debtor does everything he or she is required to do in order to receive discharge of debts, including medical debts.