Medical debt is a unique type of debt in that it can strike almost without warning. One day you are a healthy, active human being with a great credit score and no outstanding debts, and the next you are faced with a skyrocketing hospital bill and no way to pay, since you cannot work to make income to help defray the cost of the bills. No wonder then that medical debt is currently the leading cause both of Dallas bankruptcy and of bankruptcy filings nationwide.
Options Aside from Bankruptcy
Aside from filing for bankruptcy and hurting your otherwise-high credit score, you may have some alternatives at your disposal. First, bankruptcy lawyers may recommend negotiating a settlement with the provider. Since medical debt is unsecured and thus dischargeable in bankruptcy, medical providers may be willing to accept a reduced payment rather than see the entirety of the medical debt wiped out in bankruptcy. Don’t be afraid to talk to your provider and explain your financial situation to them; at least, the worst that can happen is that they will refuse to reduce your payment.
There are a few laws in place to help those faced with killer medical debt. The Hospital Care Assurance Program (HCAP) allows people to qualify for free or reduced-cost health care based on income. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires certain federally tax-exempt hospitals to provide free or low-cost care to individuals who cannot afford health coverage. Learn more about the HCAP and the ACA and whether they may apply to you.
Dallas bankruptcy may be the best option, as well; it will certainly affect your credit in the negative, but then again, so will a trail of unpaid medical bills or a wage garnishment order or other collection actions.