On paper, middle class earners appear to be able to afford their bills, but the reality is that many are struggling financially, particularly when you stack on medical expenses that are not covered by high deductibles. When push comes to shove, families have to prioritize payment of necessities such as housing, transportation and food, which sometimes means leaving medical bills unpaid.
In the past, hospitals and clinics were reluctant to legally pursue patients with delinquent accounts perhaps in the spirit of taking the humanitarian high ground. However, these days, hospitals across the country are increasingly suing patients for unpaid bills often resulting in the garnishment of wages that are already stretched too thin.
While the presumed target of lawsuits are those who are “able to pay but choose not to” the reality is that lawsuits and wage garnishments hit middle and low income populations that typically cannot afford another financial hit. Wage garnishments cause many to just fall behind on other bills such as a car payment on a vehicle needed to get back and forth to work or a rent payment. Some wind up leaning on credit cards more and more to make ends meet or dropping pricey insurance – a gamble that no medical emergency will strike that no one wants to lose.
For middle or lower income Americans that are facing insurmountable credit card or medical debt, bankruptcy protection is a strategy worth considering. Those who qualify for chapter 7 bankruptcy are typically able to liquidate unsecured debt so that they can use their earnings more effectively. For higher wage earners who may have assets they wish to protect, a Chapter 13 repayment plan over a 3 to 5 year period offers an opportunity to gain financial footing.
Because bankruptcy determinations are made by looking at the past 6 month period, even if you are not certain that bankruptcy is the answer now, it is helpful to get information in advance so you can make informed decisions. Knowing what debt you can and cannot discharge in a bankruptcy, understanding the means test to see if or when you will qualify for chapter 7, and knowing exactly what property is exempt from bankruptcy is information you will need to know in order to decide if bankruptcy protection is a good strategy for your financial circumstances.
Get Help From An Experienced Illinois Bankruptcy Protection for Medical Debt Lawsuit Lawyer
If you are facing a difficult financial situation, or a medical debt lawsuit and are interested in exploring bankruptcy protection, it is important to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Fortunately, filing for bankruptcy can stop the garnishment and wipe out your obligation to pay back discharged debts including medical debt. If a lawsuit is still pending, the bankruptcy’s automatic stay will stop it from moving forward as you work toward a solution. Contact Peoria bankruptcy lawyer Charles E. Covey to schedule an appointment today at 309-674-8125.