Medical Debt Information: The Medical Bankruptcy Option

Medical bills can add insult to injury.

In general, if you can't pay your medical bills, you have the following options:

  • Pay in full right away for a discount
  • Negotiate with creditors
  • Pay off with credit cards (and deal with interest rates)
  • File medical bankruptcy

Let's take a look at how each of these works, and see if one might be a good fit for you.

If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your medical debt, along with any credit card debt and personal loans, may be entirely wiped out. This will allow you to get a fresh financial start so you can make a full financial recovery.

If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your medical bills will likely be combined, ordered and most likely reduced along with your credit card debt, mortgage and car payments.

Bankruptcy's automatic court-ordered stay will likely protect you against foreclosure, wage garnishment, repossession, lawsuits and creditor harassment while you make one monthly payment to a bankruptcy trustee. This trustee will handle all of your debts and creditors over the course of your court-approved repayment plan.

The problem: You must meet the eligibility requirements to file for bankruptcy and if you have previously filed bankruptcy in the last 10 years then you may not be eligible file again.

Pay Your Medical Bills in Full, Right Away

The plan: In 2007, hospitals lost more than $34 billion in unpaid for health care. So if you offer to pay all of your bill right away, your doctor may give you a significant discount.

The problem: In order to receive a discount, you'll likely need to pay your bill in full. And this means having the cash on hand to make that payment. Even with a 30 percent discount, a $10,000 bill would still require you to pay $7,000 - right now, out of pocket. Also, this plan will only apply to a single provider. For example, if you received check-ups through one doctor, and surgery at a hospital and prescription drugs from a pharmacy, you might have to go through this process three times - and make three up-front payments.

Also, this plan likely won't help if you already received, and maybe even paid part of, your medical bills.

The plan: Hospitals and doctors negotiate all the time, but it's usually with insurance companies. If you know you will have difficulty paying for a procedure you could try negotiating with your doctor and simply ask for a lower price. Who knows, they may give you a discount.

The problem: Then again, they might not. Also, your medical treatment may be divided up among several different groups. You may have a doctor that oversees treatment, a surgeon that performs work, a lab that runs test, a therapist that does recovery work and a pharmacist that provides medicine. To reduce your medical bills, you may need to negotiate with each of these groups separately. That's a lot of work to do when you should be focusing on recovery.

Pay Off Medical Bills With Credit Cards

The plan: Pay off your medical bills with your credit cards. This way, you can get one monkey off your back and have to worry about one fewer bill arriving each month.

The problem: This plan backfires almost immediately. Because of credit card interest rates, your $10,000 medical bill can quickly grow to unmanageable levels. With a 10 percent interest rate, fairly low for most credit cards, your $10,000 medical bill would become $11,000 overnight. And, if you're only making the minimum payment, you will be stuck with the bill for years to come.

What's more, if you miss a payment or go over your limit, you could be stuck with additional fees and a higher interest rate. All of this will continue to make your medical debt grow until it's out of control. And credit card companies may be less willing to negotiate or forgive a missed payment should you run into trouble down the line.

The bottom line: Don't use your credit cards to pay off your medical bills. It will likely only make the problem worse.

Medical Bills May Be Eliminated With Bankruptcy

Now that you know your options for medical bill assistance, you can make a decision about which option might be best for you. For more people than you might think, bankruptcy is a safe, legally protected way to get rid of their medical bills.

If bankruptcy is the right course for you, know that you aren't alone. More than 500,000 people filed bankruptcy in 2008 because of medical bills. These people needed serious relief from the financial pain caused by uncontrollable medical bills.

If you want to learn more about how bankruptcy can eliminate your medical bills, speak with a local bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney can walk you through the process, explain how everything works and answer any questions you have.

To speak with a bankruptcy lawyer near you, complete the free form on this page and we'll connect you right away.

The above summary of medical bankruptcy is by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on bankruptcy laws, speak to a local bankruptcy lawyer in your state.


I Have Huge Medical Bills and Gambled Away My Savings. Can I Still Declare Bankruptcy?

I Have Huge Medical Bills and Gambled Away My Savings. Can I Still Declare Bankruptcy?

Welcome to Ask the Bills, where every two weeks Helaine Olen answers readers’ questions about their most nagging personal finance and financial etiquette dilemmas. Seeking advice on a money issue? Email [email protected].

Helaine Olen is a former columnist for Slate and co-author of The Index Card. She was the host of the Slate Academy series the United States of Debt.

I fell, broke a bone, and ended up with enormous medical bills—the total was more than I earn in a year. I had some money saved, but not nearly enough. Foolishly, I decided my best chance to get the cash was to gamble. I only used money I actually had, so I didn’t create additional debt. But now it’s all gone, and I still have the medical bills.

The gambling was online and regulated, with no possibility of losing more than I deposited. As best as I can tell, I lost fairly. Why did I do it? I was determined to make a lot of money quickly. Not being a high-earner or a criminal, I couldn’t think of any other way. I realize now that it was a terrible idea, but at the time I wasn’t thinking straight. I’m now considering bankruptcy for the medical bills. If I were to file for bankruptcy, would the gambling be held against me?

Deep breath, Helaine. Deep breath …

You now know, dear reader, that gambling only works because the odds favor the house—and we all know how tragic it is that our country still seems to be incapable offering truly affordable health care. But you’re not here for a lecture, either financial or political. You need help. For an assist I called up an expert, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney Edward Boltz. He’ll guide us though the thorny thicket your dilemma presents.

Don’t gamble again. Ever.

First, a question: Where did the money come from? If you took it out of a retirement account, you win and you lose. That’s because money in retirement accounts is, with few exceptions, out of bounds to creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. So a bankruptcy trustee might simply assume you spent money that the outfits dunning you wouldn’t have been able to access anyway. More fool you, the trustee will probably think, but it will make your bankruptcy filing easier. If, however, that money came from a checking, savings, or brokerage account, things get trickier. That’s because those funds could have gone to a creditor. That will erect a red flag, but not an insurmountable barrier. It’s unlikely you could file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy—that9rsquo;s when, with certain exemptions, you turn over what assets you have to pay what debts you can, the remaining debts are discharged, and you get a new financial start. You’ll almost certainly be better off filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That’s when a court-appointed trustee creates a plan requiring you to attempt to pay back what you owe over a three- to five-year period. What you can’t repay will eventually be discharged. Boltz says Chapter 13 is the better route for you, because it will be obvious to all parties that you’re acting in “good faith” and not trying to pull a fast one. And, yes, federal law requires you to reveal all gambling losses you incurred in the two years prior to a bankruptcy filing.

Two other things: Don’t go this alone. Set up a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney, and make sure she represents you through the entire process. And don’t gamble again. Ever.

A colleague at work was telling me how she affords travel for her family of five: Every year she signs up for, and then subsequently cancels, credit cards that give you lots of bonus airline miles just for signing up. She uses the card responsibly for a year or so and then drops it, and then repeats the whole process all over again. Sounds great! But doesn’t this do horrible things for your credit score? Please advise. My trip to Majorca depends on it.

There’s fun in the sun in your future—at least according to Odysseas Papadimitriou, the CEO of CardHub.com and WalletHub.com, and our other guest expert this week. He says if you’re doing this with one card, once a year at most, you should be OK. Any more than that, however, and you could cause yourself some grief. When it comes to credit scoring, one of the issues is the number of inquiries by credit issuers. Credit monitors aren’t going to assume you’re gaming the points system to get a free flight, so the more credit inquiries you have in a short period of time, the more desperate you’ll look to them. Oh, and don’t try this at all if you’re within six months of buying a home, refinancing a mortgage, applying for a car loan, or some other major financial event. Even one inquiry can impact your credit score for a short period of time. That means you could end up with a higher interest rate (or be denied entirely)—and ultimately pay much more for that Majorca vacation than you realize now.

A few years before my boyfriend and I met, his mother got extremely sick. While he was taking care of everything at her home, it came out that she had opened a credit card under his name and let it go into a collection agency. A year or two later, it happened again. She’s also prone to letting expenses reach a crisis point and then asking for money on extremely short notice. If this were any other figure in his life, the obvious thing to do would be to report her for fraud and cut her off. Since he doesn’t want to file criminal charges against his invalid mother, he settled with the collection agency. Since then, he’s been trying to rebuild his trashed credit score by paying down a student loan and responsibly using a credit card. I love him, I want to marry him and I understand why cutting his mom off isn’t an option for him. That being said, I do want to get married, maybe own a house, and not have to eat cat food when I retire. Is there anything else he can do about his credit score if he’s not willing to turn his mother in? And do you have any suggestions about how we should organize our finances when we marry? I need to know what the legal and financial ramifications are for me in this situation, or how to limit the damages from his mother’s actions so we can build a life together.

First, from Papadimitriou: “Marry him! He treats his mother very nicely, and you can tell how a future husband will treat you by how he treats his mom.” All true.

But this is tough. Your boyfriend’s mom may be impossible and awful but, yeah, it’s kind of hard to turn in your own parent for fraud, especially an ill one whose illness is almost certainly exacerbating her financial woes. So what do you do now?

Hi guys, LW #3 here. (It feels so transgressive to post; I’ve been lurking since this was the Fray! You guys are kind of the best. More.

Papadimitriou strongly suggests your boyfriend subscribe to an all encompassing credit-monitoring service, one that uses all three of the major credit reporting bureaus and will alert your boyfriend quickly if someone applies for credit in his name. Although a free service—such as the one provided by, ahem, Papadimitriou’s own WalletHub, which uses TransUnion, one of the big three credit reporting bureaus—would be more than enough in most circumstances, it won’t do the job here, because mom could apply for credit with an outfit that reports to another bureau. Your beloved should instead use a service like TrustedID or IDShield. If any of these services alert him to an unauthorized credit application, he should immediately contact mom and cancel her fraudulent application. He could also freeze his credit by contacting the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), but that’s not a perfect solution. Mom almost certainly knows enough about her son to wiggle around the security.

If you want to minimize the chances of your future husband’s bad credit from impacting your own, don’t make joint purchases with him and don’t get a joint credit card. In most states, you can’t be held liable for debt a spouse (or a mom pretending to be a spouse) runs up on a credit card that you’re not on. Unfortunately, that’s not true in the nine community-property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin). Moreover, unless you plan to put a future mortgage in your name alone, it’s possible his woes could cause a bank to charge you a higher interest rate. Finally, your boyfriend can work on improving his credit by getting a secured credit card and faithfully paying it off. This will all take work, but hey, so does marriage.


Will i have to take medicine for a yeast infection, or will it go away on its own?

Although its true that a yeast infection will go away on its own, but the symptoms may start appearing again after weeks/months! Any Suggestions here?

This is a condition that does not go away on its own and must be treated with some form of antifungal medication. Over-the-counter medications can first be tried,. ringworm infections commonly occur at schools where children have a great deal of Eczema, psoriasis and even yeast infections can look quite similar to the Detail:http://www.ehow.com/about_5262522_long-ringworm-clear-up.html

Jul 27, 2011 If you do, it can be safely treated with a vaginal medicine (not pills). But if you get a lot of yeast infections, you may have a medical problem that If your symptoms are mild, you can wait to see if they go away on their own.

Tea tree oil, diluted and applied topically to the vaginal area, has shown potential as a natural home remedy for yeast infection. More:http://www.chacha.com/question/how-do-yeast-infections-go-away-without-medicine

A yeast infection in the vagina is always caused by an imbalance in the PH. What causes that imbalance is the real question. Diet, lots of sugars and starches not balanced with other good for you stuff. Other bacteria introduce into the vag… More:http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080308071744AAzM23F

Most candidal infections can be treated at home with over-the-counter or prescription medication and can clear within a week. More:http://www.chacha.com/question/how-long-does-it-take-a-yeast-infection-to-go-away-on-its-own

Azo Yeast? The medicine for yeast infection? The pill you take by mouth…If any of you females used it…how would you rate it?

I would have never guessed this:Yeast infections can cause severe discomfort but rarely cause serious health problems! Left untreated, vaginal yeast infections often clear up on their own, usually when menstruation begins! Menstrual blood raises the vaginal pH, causing the number of yeast cells to decrease because they cant grow in the pH present during menstruation!

It's honestly not painful to have intercourse and it's not gross or anything. In my own experience, having yeast infection infection is very difficult to get rid of i was having sex, while i had a yeast infection? after the sex my vagina will burn a little. that's when i figure that i had it. Athlete's foot medications won't help.

Spamer is not welcome,every link should be moderated.


Tips for Getting Help with Medical Bills

Whether you’d like to learn how to dispute medical bills or how to negotiate high costs, Parasail can help. Patients often don’t realize there are resources available to help with medical bills and keep healthcare finances in line.

Everyone has experienced the sticker-shock feeling, when they realize just how much their surgery or medical procedure is going to cost them. The problem is when patients just hope that those medical bills will go away with time. Unpaid medical bills can affect your credit for years, so being proactive about finding financial assistance for your medical bills is of the utmost importance.

In a recent report, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 48% of Americans would be able to cover an emergency expense of over $400 in full. With that being the case, it’s understandable why so many patients have a hard time budgeting high priced health care services. Many families have invested in the most affordable, bronze level, government health plans. With these plans, their deductibles are well over $5,000 which is a huge amount of money that many people would have a hard time paying.

The support of an organization like Parasail can help patients pay off their medical bills in a timely fashion, without incurring high interest rate charges. That’s because Parasail is able to pay your doctor up front, so they don’t have to worry about chasing down your payment.