Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone answers the question “Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?”
One of leading causes of bankruptcy has long been medical debt. The high cost of healthcare in this country is widely understood and, should a medical emergency arise, it can be difficult if not impossible to recover financially. Though experts have long seen the connection between medical bills and bankruptcy, many were under the impression that the Affordable Care Act would lead to big changes, that by providing health insurance coverage to the uninsured, financial stress from medical expenses would be greatly reduced. Unfortunately for millions of Americans, that appears not to be the case.
A recent New York Times article discussed the issue of health insurance and financial stress. The underlying thought was that, given the recent rollout of the Affordable Care Act, families would be much less likely to suffer financial hardship due to medical expenses. More than 15 million uninsured Americans are now covered, something that should drastically reduce the financial burden of sudden medical expenses. Sadly, a survey conducted by the Times and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that is not true, at least not for many families.
The poll found that 20 percent of people with health insurance are reporting problems paying their medical bills. By way of comparison, just over 50 percent of those without health insurance said the same, a surprisingly small gap. Among those who have said they are facing financial strain, 63 percent say they’ve depleted their savings, 42 percent have taken an extra job and 14 percent have taken in roommates, all in an attempt to pay down mounting medical expenses.
The problem, according to the Times, is that though millions more people enjoy health insurance coverage, the cost of this coverage has continued to climb. Families are forced to bear the burden of higher deductibles and copays, forcing those who become ill to shoulder thousands of dollars in expenses despite their health insurance coverage. For those families already living paycheck-to-paycheck, the cost of the deductible may already be far more than they are able to pay. This means that, insurance or not, getting sick is something that many families simply cannot afford.
Sadly, surveys show that 25 percent of Americans under the age of 65 are suffering financial stress from health problems. The good news it that if you find yourself buried by medical debt and aren’t able to settle the debt in some other way, bankruptcy is an option to get rid of the debt and get back on your feet financially. Medical debt is what’s known as an unsecured debt and, like other forms of unsecured debts, is wiped out entirely in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or have assets you are trying to protect, you can always file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which will require paying back a portion of the debt through a repayment plan and the remainder will then be discharged.
If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.
About the Author
Kyle Frost joined Arnold & Smith, PLLC in 2013 where he focuses his practice on all aspects of civil litigation and bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Mr. Frost attended the University at Albany on a Presidential Scholarship, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in Political Science and Sociology. He went on to attended Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Following college, Mr. Frost spent over a year teaching English in South Korea. He worked in a private school in Seoul developing curriculum, English programs, and educating both children and adults that were interested in learning a new language.
In his spare time, Mr. Frost enjoys homebrewing, fishing, and travelling.
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