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Chapter 7 bankruptcy can address medical debt

Getting sick can be a stressful experience. From dealing with doctors, potential hospitalizations and medications, most patients in Florida just want to get through the treatment phase and focus on their recovery. Unfortunately, that process comes at a cost, and many people are hit with large and even unexpected medical bills. The problem is so severe that some people have to borrow large amounts of money or even file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A survey from West Health-Gallup discovered that one out of every eight patients in America borrowed money to pay a medical bill over the past 12 months. Another 25% reported that they had to make significant changes to their spending habits just to afford their health care treatments. While some might assume that these figures only apply to low-income or uninsured patients, virtually anyone can be affected by an overwhelming medical bill. Even among high-income individuals -- specifically those earning $180,000 per year or more -- 33% worry that a single medical problem could derail their finances.

Medical debt is the most commonly cited reason for personal bankruptcy. Among American patients, 45% say they fear developing a health issue because it could potentially drive them into a difficult financial position. These fears combined with financial insecurities could be why Americans borrowed $88 billion to pay for medical bills in 2018.

Borrowing money to pay off debts can seem like a good idea at the time, and doing so can even provide short-term relief. Unfortunately, it is not a long-term solution since that borrowed money also needs to be paid back. For some Florida patients, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be more effective at dealing with medical bills and other debts that they are unable to repay.

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Paul Urich
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