According to the CNBC, Medical bills are a top reason for people filing for bankruptcy.[1] While most Americans are insured, uncovered medical expenses and co-pays can plunge a family deep into debt. In addition to healthcare expenses, serious illness or injury can disrupt employment or the ability to run a business, resulting in a total or massive loss of income when it is needed most.

Bankruptcy can be an important safety next when an individual or family is facing overwhelming debt as the result of a healthcare crisis. However, this option must be used thoughtfully and at the proper time.  In most cases, it best to wait to file until after the crisis is over, when debt is no longer growing.  However, waiting too long can squander precious time that could be used for rebuilding and be financially costly.

Below is a list of options that may help avoid the need to file bankruptcy:
(1) If you can realistically pay off your medical bills in a year, perhaps filing might not be the best option for you.
(2) Ask the medical provider if they can settle with you for a lower cost. If the medical provider can settle with you, that might be your best option.
(3) Many hospitals have assistance programs and if you qualify, you will receive free or reduced hospital care.
(4) Always review your medical bills to ensure that there isn’t anything wrong or unauthorized on there.

However, if none of these options is available, or the debt is simply overwhelming, bankruptcy can be the most cost-effective and rapid way to being your economic recovery.  If you are considering bankruptcy, it’s always best to consult a bankruptcy attorney to see what your options are and what your life and debt would look like if you did file.  Most lawyers, including my office, offer free consultations, so there’s no risk in exploring this important and powerful option.

[1] Konish, L. (2019, February 11). This is the real reason most Americans file for bankruptcy. CNBC.