Posts Tagged: ‘Medical Bills’

Tips for Seniors to Avoid Medical Debt

November 6, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Open enrollment began November 1, 2017 for health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act.  On October 15, open enrollment began for Medicare recipients.  For many seniors, Medicare enrollment is a complex process that does not always cover all medical bills and expenses.  As a result, some seniors are left with thousands of dollars in medical debt.  Here are some ways seniors can stay one step ahead and avoid medical debt:

Set savings aside to cover unexpected medical expenses.  A recent analysis found couples may need as much as $350,000 for medical bills post retirement.  Factor this amount in when saving for retirement.

Understand Medicare options and costs. Remember to sign up for Medicare at the right time. Most people are eligible to enroll in Medicare beginning three months before their 65th birthday. Enrollment continues until three months after they turn 65. You can choose standard Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. The second option offers lower out-of-pocket costs, but a higher monthly premium, for coverage through an HMO or PPO.

Gather all personal information and keep it organized.  Have this information readily available so a loved one or caregiver can help manage your healthcare if you are hospitalized or unable to do so.  This should include a daily list of medications, medical providers, your medical history and medical and legal documents such as advance medical directive and a will.  Here is a checklist to help manage your personal medical information.

Review medical bills carefully.  A recent study found that 49 percent of Medicare medical bills contain errors or unnecessary charges. When you receive a bill for a procedure, hospitalization or nursing care, take time to review it for accuracy. If you received only a total due, request an itemized list of services provided.

Avoid putting medical expenses on a credit card.  More than half of adults over the age of 50 put medical bills on their credit cards, according to a recent survey by AARP.  Request an affordable payment plan from your medical provider.

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 McMaken, 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Related Resources: http://www.wrex.com/story/36647166/8-must-dos-for-seniors-who-want-to-avoid-medical-debt

 

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/

Study Shows Floridians Struggled with Medical Bills in 2016

March 28, 2017 Posted by kingcade

According to a survey published last week by the Commonwealth Fund, residents of Florida and Texas reported having more difficulty paying their medical bills in 2016 than residents of California or New York.

All four states have seen an increase in the number of residents with health insurance since the Affordable Care Act was launched in 2014. The difference is, unlike in California and New York, legislators in Florida and Texas refused to expand Medicaid to most of the low-income adults, resulting in higher uninsured rates. Florida’s uninsured resident rate was 16 percent last year.

The survey reported that 41 percent of Floridians reported they had trouble paying their medical bills, they were contacted by a collection agency about unpaid medical bills or they were carrying medical debt last year. Approximately 44 percent of Texans reported they had trouble paying medical bills last year. Only approximately 28 percent of Californians and New Yorkers reported similar challenges with medical debt.

However, state decisions on Medicaid were not the only contributing factors. The rate of illegal immigrants living in each state were also reportedly factors in the survey results due to the fact that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid or ACA coverage.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, 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.

The South has the highest rates of personal bankruptcy filings in the country

August 25, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Personal bankruptcy filings fell to levels not seen since before the Great Recession of 2007, according the American Bankruptcy Institute.  However, this is not the case for some parts of the country.  Recent federal data from U.S. courts reveals the median bankruptcy rate among the 587 counties examined was 224 filings per 100,000 residents. Among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., the median bankruptcy rate was 226 filings per 100,000 residents.

Six of the 10 states and eight of the 10 counties with the highest personal bankruptcy filings were in the South. Many of the areas had lower to median annual incomes. Eight of the 10 states with the highest rates of bankruptcy filings had annual household incomes lower than the 2014 U.S. median of $53,657.

Another downside, states with the highest bankruptcy rates offer the least amount of protections for consumers. For example, Alabama and Kentucky, allow debt collectors to seize nearly everything a debtor owns, according to the National Consumer Law Center.

These are the states with the highest rates of personal bankruptcy filings:

Tennessee, 553 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Alabama, 529 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Georgia, 483 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Illinois, 432 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Utah, 392 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Indiana, 387 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Mississippi, 361 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Kentucky, 345 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Arkansas, 344 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

Ohio, 322 bankruptcy filings per 100,000 residents

While seeking relief through bankruptcy may not have been your first choice, it may be your best financial strategy, when compared to the alternatives of wage garnishment, lawsuits and endless collection calls. In addition, depending on the type of bankruptcy filing, there is no more overwhelming debt. The majority of personal bankruptcy filings are for Chapter 7, which erases most unsecured debts, such as your credit card debt and medical bills.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, 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:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0816/The-South-has-the-highest-bankruptcy-rates-in-the-country

 

The WRONG Reasons to File Bankruptcy

April 20, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Although you may be receiving unwanted collections calls and falling behind on some bills, bankruptcy may not be the best option for you. There are certain types of debt which bankruptcy cannot erase. For example, back child support, alimony obligations, student loans and certain tax debts are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Below are four reasons you should NOT file for bankruptcy:

1. You cannot make small payments on unsecured debt. Unsecured debt consists of most credit card debt and medical bills. In other words, it is debt that the lender has allowed you to run up without asking for a collateral in return. If you default on unsecured debt, the lender has nothing to repossess. Most consumers think that failing to make these payments will result in wage garnishment or other significant consequences.   However, most lenders cannot take action unless they sue you. This can oftentimes be a lengthy process, providing you time to come up with the payments. If the amount you owe is small, the lender may write it off as uncollectable, rather than taking legal action. There are also options such as the negotiation of your interest rate or being placed on a realistic payment plan.

2. You want debt collectors to stop contacting you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) requires debt collectors stop contacting you if you ask them. You must send the collection company a certified letter requesting this. After you have taken such action, it is against the law for the collection company to contact you, except to let you know they are either going to take legal action against you or stop their collection efforts.

3. Most of your debts are from recent income taxes, court judgments, child support payments or student loans. These are some of the debts that are oftentimes non-dischargeable in bankruptcy court. Filing for bankruptcy will not relieve you of these type debts.

4. You do not have any assets or income outside of Social Security, unemployment or welfare. Creditors cannot garnish your Social Security income, unemployment or welfare, even if they sue you. It is not necessary to file bankruptcy if you do not have an income that creditors can take or assets they can seize.

Click here to read more on the wrong reasons to file bankruptcy.

If you are in a financial crisis and are considering filing bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, 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.