In the age of competitive, for-profit medicine, medical practices and individual hospitals love to market themselves as compassionate and supportive organizations. They do this because they want the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars they stand to earn from providing trauma care or cancer treatment to someone.
However, many Americans have substantial gaps in their health insurance policies through no fault of their own. They may need cancer treatment that is outside the scope of their policy. They could get hurt while visiting a friend and require trauma care at an out-of-network facility. They might even have massive deductibles or coinsurance rates that leave them with five or six figures worth of patient responsibility for their care.
The same hospital that tried so hard to seem compassionate and patient-focused while competing for your business will likely feel no remorse about aggressively pursuing medical debt against you, even if you aren’t healthy enough to go back to work yet.
Hospitals often go to great lengths to collect on their bills
Whether you just completed cancer treatment or had a quadruple bypass surgery, you may not be able to work during your recovery. You may have been out of work for months before the bills even started rolling in for your care. Your portion of the responsibility for your medical debt might represent more than your salary even when you are working.
If the hospital doesn’t feel like you made payments quickly enough, they might hire a collection company to start calling you and sending you constant letters to ask for more money. In some cases, the hospital could try to get a lien against your home or try to garnish your wages so that they get repaid more quickly.
Don’t let financial stress compromise your health again
Stress is terrible for your physical and mental health, and aggressive collection activity can have dire effects on your well-being and quality of life. If you worry that the hospital where you sought care is going to increase their collection effort or if you already have a pending lawsuit against you, filing bankruptcy can be a way to stop aggressive collection activity right now and discharge the debt that led to all of these issues in the first place.
Discussing your debts and your concerns about medical collections with an attorney can give you a better idea about whether bankruptcy is right for you and what form would offer better protection.