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Could Chapter 13 bankruptcy address my medical debt?

Health care is both essential and expensive, which can put Florida patients in extremely difficult situations. Some individuals even delay seeking medical attention out of fear of related costs. In some cases this can further complicate matters, as a person's situation might deteriorate and the individual could need even more extensive -- and costly -- care than before. The problem is serious and not going anywhere, and some patients may need to turn toward Chapter 13 bankruptcy for relief.

Data from Care indicates that approximately 25 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 have at least some unpaid medical bills. Those between the ages of 65 and 74 seem to be somewhat better off with only 10 percent of this age group on the hook for overdue health care bills. These past-due bills pose a serious problem no matter how old the patient is, though.

Interest quickly accrues on past-due medical bills. If a person delayed payment because they were unable to afford the initial bill, this added interest only serves to complicate things further. Furthermore, outstanding medical debt damages a person's credit. This can make it much more difficult for an individual to access necessary lines of credit in the future.

Patients are often told that they have options to combat overwhelming medical costs. Most people in Florida are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their benefits and to shop around for hospitals and doctors within their price range, but this is rarely effective. Benefits are usually too complicated for the average person to fully understand, and most insurance policies are full of loopholes that benefit the company. Also, shopping around for necessary medical care is often difficult if not impossible.

Most people in Florida simply want to pay back their medical bills and then go on with their lives. Unfortunately, the situation is often more complicated than this. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide an effective alternative for some individuals. In this form of bankruptcy, the debtor crafts a repayment plan that generally lasts between three to five years, and at the end of this time period most remaining debts are effectively discharged.

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Paul Urich
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Law Office of Paul L. Urich, P.A.
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Orlando, FL 32803
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