Louisiana patients know that medical care is expensive. Even if a patient has good health insurance, it is still possible he or she will have to pay some medical expenses out of pocket. Because there is secrecy and confusion surrounding the issue of medical billing, it is possible that surprise health care costs could lead to unexpected debt.

When someone goes to a hospital or medical center for treatment, he or she likely does not understand the full cost of the visit, surgery or stay. In a hospital, a patient may receive care from a surgeon, physician’s assistant, respiratory therapist, occupational therapist, X-ray technician and many others. These providers may all bill separately and for different services. The result can be astronomical medical bills, even for a minor procedure or one-night hospital stay.

Doctors and hospitals are not forthcoming about their pricing and billing practices. Louisiana patients may find their medical bills from an emergency room visit or scheduled surgery quickly wipe out their savings. Even on a monthly payment plan and after negotiating a settlement, expenses can outpace what average Americans make in a month.

There are many fighting for more transparent billing practices and pricing in hospitals across the country, but until that happens, patients may end up with unexpected debt burdens. For some, it could be beneficial to consider the benefits of bankruptcy, a process that allows an applicant to deal with certain types of unsecured balances and regain financial stability. It may help to seek an evaluation with an experienced attorney to learn if this is the most beneficial option for the individual situation.