Most people struggling with debt were financially responsible for most of their lives. It really only takes one medical emergency to put someone in a difficult financial position. One car crash caused by an uninsured driver, one cardiac event that forces you to take weeks off of work or one criminal assault could leave you with an insurmountable mountain of personal medical debt.
Did you know that there is about $140 billion in outstanding medical debts owed by people across the United States? In fact, medical debt is the top reason that people find themselves facing aggressive collection activity, like repeated calls to their homes, lawsuits and even attempts to garnish their wages or place liens against their property?
When your medical creditors become impatient with your inability to pay, bankruptcy may be the most valuable tool you have.
Medical collections can do as much damage as your injury or illness
Collection efforts both by the company that owns the debt or third-party agencies that they hire will affect your health. The stress of dealing with collection activity can make you feel jumpy every time the phone rings or panicked whenever you see something in your mailbox.
The stress you experience can absolutely compromise your health and may be particularly dangerous after a cardiac event or a stroke. Unfortunately, the health care providers who have helped you overcome your medical emergency don’t care about the long-term impact of their collection activity on your health.
They will continue to pursue the debts, possibly even taking you to court. If a judge rules in favor of your medical creditors, you can lose out on income when you go back to work through a garnishment or even have to deal with a lien against your family home that will force you to repay the company.
How bankruptcy helps
As soon as you file the necessary bankruptcy paperwork with the courts, you no longer have to worry about collection activity. The next time the phone rings, you can simply inform them that you filed for bankruptcy and give them the case details. They should then immediately stop trying to call you.
Filing for bankruptcy can also stop litigation, even if you have already received a court date for a debt-related lawsuit. The courts will temporarily dismiss the case pending the resolution of your bankruptcy filing. If you are successful in discharging your debt, you won’t have to worry about any collection efforts regarding those discharged debts in the future.
Understanding how bankruptcy can help when you have serious medical debt could lead to a healthier and happier life after you overcome your illness or injury.