The last thing anyone should have to worry about when they are facing a serious, potentially life-altering health issue is whether they will be able to afford the care.
But as our Louisville bankruptcy attorneys know well, most people can’t afford the astronomical bills that pile up each month. Some make a valiant effort and try to pay for a medical procedure with a credit card – if their credit will even cover their hospitalizations, treatments, therapies and medications. However, this often leaves an ailing person and their family even deeper in debt and struggling with sky-high interest rates.
This situation replays itself daily across this country. Although the federal health care reform bill aims to curb some of the worst abuses, it certainly won’t eliminate the financial struggles faced by families dealing with serious medical issues.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a saving grace for these families — and a lifeline that should be reached for before tapping retirement savings or making other ruinous financial decisions.
Unfortunately, too many people have a perception of bankruptcy help as a last resort. But the fact is, chapter 7 bankruptcy gives you a chance to immediately stop the creditor harassment, be absolved of all that medical debt, hang onto your retirement funds (and disability checks too, if you are receiving them) and start again with a clean slate.
Many people worry what such an action will ruin a credit score. It’s true that you will be impacted, though probably not for as long or as deeply as you might think. As it stands, if you are already in a position where you can’t pay your bills, your credit has taken a pretty significant hit.
Sometimes we tend to think of these scenarios as only playing out with older folks. This is simply not so.
A 30-year-old woman was recently profiled in an article published by MSN. In the first-person account, a mother of two years awoke one day with a cold. Then suddenly, one side of her face went numb.
That numbness lasted weeks. When she went to see her primary care physician, he sent her straight to the hospital emergency room. There, she underwent a CAT scan that indicated inclusive results. She then underwent an MRI, at which time a neurologist informed her she had multiple sclerosis. This autoimmune disorder affects the spinal cord and brain, and causes sufferers to experience symptoms of vertigo, loss of balance and muscle weakness.
While she and her husband were determined that the diagnosis would not define her or her life – it did define her bank account.
At the very outset, that first emergency room visit cost $2,500. Her monthly medications cost $2,800 monthly – $500 of which she was responsible for out-of-pocket. As the years go on and the disease worsens, the medication costs will only increase. Without insurance, this would cost her nearly $45,000 annually.
These were not individuals who were irresponsible with their money – they were by all accounts smart with their savings. They had maxed out their IRAs. They were saving for a house. They had no debt. They had a good chunk of change in case of emergencies.
Cases like this reveal that medical debt can truly strike anyone at any time.
When it does, we are here to help.
If you are considering a Louisville bankruptcy, contact the Schwartz Bankruptcy Law Center at 866-270-4495.
My disease is bankrupting my family, Jan. 28, 2013, By Stephanie Casey, LearnVest.com
More Blog Entries:
Report: Millions Draining Retirement Accounts to Pay Debt, Jan. 28, 2013, Louisville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog