By now you may be well aware that medical debt is fully dischargeable in Texas bankruptcy, making it a great and powerful tool in the fight against skyrocketing health care costs. But it does have its limitations, and a big one is this: after filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot successfully discharge debts again in a subsequent Chapter 7 filing for eight years. In relation to medical debt in particular, this can sometimes be a big deal, because if you are still sick when your medical debt is discharged in the first filing, you may well rack up another set of massive bills before the eight years have elapsed in which you can have debt discharged again.
Optimizing Discharge Time
There is no foolproof system for deciding when is the best time to have your current medical debt discharged in bankruptcy. But a good general rule might be that if you are currently still undergoing treatment or think you are likely to need treatment in the near future, it would not be a very good idea to file bankruptcy before the treatment has run its course. In order to have all the latest medical debt included in the bankruptcy filing, the debt must have been incurred and billed to you prior to the filing date. This means that the longer you wait, the more medical debt will be included in any potential discharge.
If your treatment is long finished and your bills are already past due, it is probably OK to file bankruptcy in order to obtain the discharge. Unfortunately, if another medical emergency happens to befall you in the next eight years, you will not be able to have that medical debt discharged in Chapter 7 until the eight years have elapsed.