Roseville Medical Debt Bankruptcy Lawyer
Medical debt statistics paint a grim economic picture. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, “One in five working-age Americans with insurance encountered problems paying medical bills in the past year, which often led to serious financial challenges and changes in employment and lifestyle.” Even with insurance, dental and healthcare costs can be astronomical – and without insurance, doctor and hospital bills are even more devastating. One study found that in California in 2015, approximately 16% of the non-elderly adult population reported having past-due medical bills. Hundreds or thousands of Californians living in the Roseville area could be struggling with medical debt today.
If you are among them, bankruptcy may be a viable strategy for wiping out medical debt and getting your finances under control. However, it is unwise to file bankruptcy without consulting an attorney first, as bankruptcy cases are subject to complex laws and procedural rules. If you have been financially struggling because of overwhelming medical bills or dental bills, the Roseville bankruptcy attorneys of The Bankruptcy Group may be able to help you start fresh. For a free legal consultation about medical bankruptcy in California, contact us online, or call (800) 920-5351 today.
Does Bankruptcy Clear Medical Debt?
The short answer to this question is yes: bankruptcy has the power to dramatically reduce or wipe away debt from medical bills. Needless to say, this is good news for any Roseville resident who has wondered about how they will manage to pay for a surgery, a hospital visit, a prescription drug, a prosthetic limb, or other medical devices and procedures.
While bankruptcy can eliminate or drastically lower your medical debts, it’s important not to rush into filing before considering some important questions. For example, you may not know that there are different kinds of bankruptcy, which follow different legal and financial procedures. You should also know that there are certain requirements before you may file bankruptcy, such as a federal requirement to complete credit counseling through a government-approved service provider. Finally, you should know that there are many situations where it is appropriate to strategically delay filing. A medical debt bankruptcy attorney from The Bankruptcy Group can help you evaluate these and other factors to ensure that your case has the strongest possible foundation for success.
What Bankruptcy Should I File for Medical Bills?
As noted above, there are several types of bankruptcy, which are referred to as “chapters” after various chapters of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Some chapters may be more beneficial to you than others, depending on your financial situation. Additionally, depending on your income, you may be precluded from filing certain types of bankruptcy. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss your filing choices with a knowledgeable attorney who is well-versed in the various personal bankruptcy options for Californians.
Most personal bankruptcy cases involve Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A small handful of individuals file for Chapter 11, but these cases are extremely rare. Therefore, the remainder of this article will focus on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. However, our attorneys would be happy to discuss Chapter 11 and alternative options when you contact our law offices for your free bankruptcy consultation.
Medical Bills in Chapter 7
Chapter 7, which is also referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy,” is the most common type of personal bankruptcy, not only in California but throughout the United States. Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases typically require roughly four to six months for completion, with a filing fee of $335.
There is no requirement to make monthly payments in Chapter 7. Instead, a court-appointed trustee may sell certain possessions to repay your creditors. However, thanks to bankruptcy exemptions, it is often possible to protect most or all property from liquidation, which means it is unlikely that you will lose your car or home.
If you follow court rules and complete all requirements successfully, the bankruptcy court should “discharge” (wipe out) certain debts, including medical debt. Other debts that Chapter 7 can eliminate include credit card debt, personal debt, business debt, and past-due utility bills. These debts, along with medical debts, are called “dischargeable debts.”
Medical Bills in Chapter 13
Chapter 13 is a very different process than Chapter 7. The largest difference is that Chapter 13, which has a filing fee of $310, requires three to five years for completion. This is due to the fact that Chapter 13 centers around a payment or restructuring plan called a “reorganization plan,” giving this chapter the nickname of “reorganization bankruptcy.” Under the payment plan, you will make recurring payments to a bankruptcy trustee, who will handle distributing your payments to your creditors as appropriate.
Once you have completed your plan, the bankruptcy court should discharge the remaining dischargeable debts. Chapter 13 eliminates all debts covered by Chapter 7, including medical debt. It also wipes out several debts that are not erased in Chapter 7, such as court fees. While you must make monthly payments in Chapter 13, you are at lower risk of losing assets due to the fact that you can cure delinquent payments through your reorganization plan, which is not a factor in Chapter 7 cases.
Roseville, CA Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Help You Get Rid of Medical Debt
Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy can both help you wipe out debts arising from surgery, medication, medical devices, hospitalization, dental care, and other medical expenses. However, it’s important to choose the right chapter for your situation, or, where appropriate, explore potential alternatives. For a free consultation, contact the Roseville medical bankruptcy lawyers of The Bankruptcy Group online, or call our law offices at (800) 920-5351.