Posts Tagged: ‘medical bankruptcies’

Medical Credit Cards Leaving Patients with Aches and Pains

January 18, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Long after the procedure is over, patients are still suffering with pain.  Not from the operation, but from the card they used to pay for the operation.  Medical credit cards are offered at the doctor’s office to pay for procedures, patients otherwise cannot afford at the time.  This type of credit seems like a quick fix for pricey procedures not covered by insurance.

However, according to a recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly a third of Americans report trouble paying their medical bills and many have taken on credit card debt to pay the expenses.  Medical debt is the No. 1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy.

One of the biggest dangers of medical credit cards are the misconceptions associated with them.  A number of patients think they are setting up an installment plan with the doctor’s office.  Many do not understand they have opened up a new line of credit with sky-high interest rates and strict penalties for even a single missed payment.

Most of these cards feature a “zero interest” promotional period for up to 18 months. But then the interest rate can jump to 25 percent or higher.  Some consumers never received a copy of the credit card terms and had to rely on explanations from medical staffers who had little training on the card details, in cases cited by U.S. authorities.

Another potential drawback is something called deferred interest. That means if a patient does not pay off the entire balance during the “interest-free” period, they can be retroactively charged for interest dating back to when they first signed up.

Before you sign up for a medical credit card, we advise that you research other options, first.  Medically necessary procedures may be available at a discounted rate or even for free at certain hospitals that provide some level of charitable care.  If it is not medically necessary, consider waiting until you can afford the procedure.   If you must use a credit card to pay for a procedure, use one that has terms and conditions you understand.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Tips to Reduce Your Medical Debt

September 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

When dealing with an unexpected medical bill, such as a trip to the emergency room or overnight hospital stay, one approach many consumers are taking is to negotiate the debt.  This trend is likely to continue.  According to a recent study, 20 percent of those 65 and older struggle to pay medical bills, and 30 percent of working adults with health insurance struggle with the same.  Almost half of Americans surveyed said they had trouble paying an unexpected medical bill of more than $500.

Whether your medical debt is the result of a high-deductible, out-of-network charge or procedure not covered by insurance, these tips will help reduce your medical debt.

  1. Be proactive. For a planned operation, make sure your insurance company covers the cost and the doctors and medical professionals working on you are ALL in-network.  Get a confirmation from your doctor  in writing or through email correspondence.  This will help you later if you learn an out-of-network provider was used.
  2. Research. Whether you are negotiating in advance or after you receive a bill, websites such as Fair Health and Healthcare Bluebook can help you determine what insurers pay in your area.
  3. Confirm the bill is correct. Ask your insurer if a portion of the bill will be covered or all of it.  Then call the provider that sent you the bill.  There may be some back and forth with this, so it is important to be patient- and persistent.
  4. Offer to pay cash. If you are able to pay most of the bill, offer to do so.  Medical advocates say they can often get a 15 to 20 percent “prompt pay” discount this way.
  5. Let them know if you cannot pay. If you are on a fixed income or struggling financially, letting the provider know you are not able to pay will give them a reason to offer you a discount or be placed on a reasonable payment plan.   If you cannot pay, tell them why you cannot pay.  Some states require hospitals provide free or reduced care to consumers within certain income limits.  Florida is one of these states.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.consumerreports.org/medical-billing/six-smart-steps-for-lowering-medical-bills/

Changes to Healthcare could lead to More Bankruptcies

August 1, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, personal bankruptcy filings dropped about 50 percent, from 1,536,799 in 2010 to 770,846 in 2016.  Studies have shown medical debt as the leading cause of personal bankruptcy filings.  As legislators and the executive branch renew their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, there is concern about what that will do to coverage and premiums.

A study conducted by the American Medical Association in 2007 found that 67% of those who filed for bankruptcy cited medical debt as a major factor.  For middle class homeowners, the issue of medical coverage was even more influential, with half of all foreclosures caused in part by medical debt. The uncertainty about the fate of healthcare coverage for many Americans may cause the number of bankruptcies and foreclosures to increase in the coming years.

The current healthcare bill that is being debated may result in 22 million to 32 million Americans losing a portion of their current healthcare benefits.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources:

https://www.consumerreports.org/personal-bankruptcy/how-the-aca-drove-down-personal-bankruptcy/

Medical Debt Collectors Accused of Using Aggressive Tactics to Collect

May 16, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a recent report by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund that reviews reports from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, medical debt collectors have been employing aggressive tactics to collect, even from the wrong consumers, putting their credit reports at risk.

The collection attempts range from repeated calls, calls harassing family and friends, threats of legal action, and abusive language- All a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), designed to prevent creditor harassment and abuse.

Here are some important tips to remember if you are struggling with medical debt:

Confirm you owe the debt.  Almost 90 percent of medical bills have costly errors, according to the Medical Billing Advocates of America and Medical Recovery Services.  Request a detailed, itemized statement of charges and medical services you received.

Speak up.  If you find errors in your medical records or billing, contact your doctor or the hospital billing department.  Negotiate payments. They may even give you the option to defer payments for a few months or to put you on an interest-free plan where you pay a small amount toward the bill each month.

Get help. Hospitals and insurance companies often have case workers who can help with bills and resolve payment issues.

Click here to read more on this story.

Those who have experienced illness or injury and found themselves overwhelmed with medical debt should contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney. In bankruptcy, medical bills are considered general unsecured debts just like credit cards. This means that medical bills do not receive priority treatment and can easily be discharged in bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws were created to help people resolve overwhelming debt and gain a fresh financial start. Bankruptcy attorney Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.