Posts Tagged: ‘medical debt’

Is It Ever Too Late to Negotiate a Medical Bill?

July 3, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt continues to be a large portion of debt collection proceedings, but many individuals facing large amounts of medical debt may not believe they have rights when it comes to negotiating the bill. For this reason, these individuals may delay contacting the provider to see if the bill can be reduced or if they could be placed on an affordable repayment plan. However, even if the person owing the medical debt waits months or even years to try to make good on the debt, it is usually never too late to negotiate a medical bill.

Properly Reviewing the Bill

Before negotiating a payment schedule or amount, it is always wise to carefully review the billing statement sent to the patient. The provider needs to properly bill for all services provided within a reasonable amount of time, and not doing this can often be seen as a breach of contract. In addition, it should never be assumed that all of the items listed in the bill are correct. It is recommended that the patient review what is listed, check with his or her calendar to make sure that they line up, and if they do not, bring this discrepancy to the attention of the provider. These corrections can be made even after a period of time passes and the bill has remained unpaid.

Negotiating Past-Due Medical Bills and Bankruptcy

It is possible to negotiate a medical bill, even if it is past due. At the end of the day, most of the medical service providers want to receive some type of payment, even if it is a lower amount.

While the company is within its rights to not negotiate on a bill that is past due, it is usually in the best interest of the company to take a reduced payment, than no payment at all.  Medical debt is normally classified as an unsecured debt in a bankruptcy case meaning it is the debt that is discharged at the close of the case. Therefore, it is highly possible the medical company will walk away without receiving any payment if the individual pursues a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

Request Financial Assistance with Medical Debt

Medical providers will often offer financial assistance for individuals who are not able to pay for their medical bills. The company will not become aware of this issue if the consumer simply leaves the bill unpaid. It often helps to reach out and be screened for other programs, including financial assistance or state aid. The assistance can make it possible for the individual to pay off these debts in a manner that is much more realistic for the patient.

Speak with a Consumer or Bankruptcy Law Attorney

Depending on how much time has passed, it is recommended that the individual contact a consumer bankruptcy attorney to see if the statute of limitations has passed for these debts. Every state has a statute of limitations which controls the time period a creditor has to collect on a debt. Florida’s statute of limitations for medical debt is five years. However, if the patient negotiates and begins paying on the debt that falls out of this five-year period, this may revive the statute of limitations and then leave the person open to a lawsuit for the balance of the debt if he or she fails to continue paying. Therefore, it helps to speak first with an attorney regarding the debt before making any other decisions.

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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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

 

Cancer Patients Twice As Likely to File for Bankruptcy

May 24, 2018 Posted by kingcade

A recent study reveals the devastating financial toll a cancer diagnosis can bring.  Even for those with health insurance, the consequences can be financially devastating. The ongoing treatments can quickly deplete savings accounts and rack up credit card debt, eventually making it difficult to cover basic living expenses.

Cancer has always been an expensive diagnosis to treat, but recently several factors have made the costs more intense, prompting more patients to cut back on their medications, even delay treatment. Insurance companies are tightening prescription drug coverage and raising deductible costs.  This means for some, paying thousands of dollars a year for a drug like the leukemia treatment Gleevec, which is a pill that is taken daily, sometimes for the rest of a person’s life.

The Affordable Care Act sets limits as to how much people can spend on healthcare each year.  Cancer treatments often extend beyond a year and coverage does not always apply to the increasingly narrow network of doctors and hospitals that are considered ‘in-network.’

Duke Cancer Institute oncologist, Dr. Yousuf Zafar, who also studies financial distress among cancer patients, surveyed 300 adult, insured patients at the cancer institute.  Nearly 40 percent reported a higher-than-expected financial burden, while 16 percent dealt with what he called ‘overwhelming financial distress.’

More than a quarter of that patient population said they did not take their medicines as prescribed, skipped doses and took smaller amounts than prescribed to save on costs.  Some did not even get their prescriptions filled.

Additional research found that cancer patients are more than twice as likely as those without the diagnosis to file for bankruptcy.

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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 website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

5 Alternatives to Charging Your Medical Bills

April 13, 2018 Posted by kingcade

If you are like many individuals today facing serious medical bills, it is important to know that you have options.  The rising cost of healthcare, combined with the growing number of Americans without adequate health insurance has led many people to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In fact, medical debt is the No. 1 reason people file for bankruptcy in the U.S.  In 2014 alone, an estimated 40% of Americans accumulated medical debt resulting from a health issue.  Instead of putting medical expenses on your credit cards or worse signing up for a medical credit card, here are some alternatives that can help you stay out of medical debt.

  • Enroll in a payment plan. Certain hospitals and doctor’s offices offer payment plans for low-income patients. This will allow you to work out a payment plan directly with the healthcare provider, pay your bill overtime and avoid interest charges.
  • Ask about charitable funds. If your household income is low enough, you may qualify to have your medical bill completely dismissed.  Some hospitals have money set aside to pay for treatment of patients who cannot afford to pay their bill.  This is especially common in emergency health situations.  However, be warned the paperwork and forms involved is extensive but is worth it in the end.
  • Negotiate a lower amount. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to negotiate a lower bill.  It never hurts to ask.  In some cases, hospitals may agree to settle the debt for less than you owe.
  • Consider taking out a personal loan. If you have exhausted your other options and still need help paying your bill, consider taking out a personal loan rather than using credit cards. If you have good credit and a stable income, you could qualify for a loan with an interest rate as low as 5 percent.

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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.

 

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans Have Substantial Medical Debt

March 13, 2018 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt is a leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States.  Even if you recover from the illness, the medical debt can remain.  This can be made even worse by constant calls from debt collectors.  If you are struggling with medical debt, you are not alone.  Nearly one in five Americans has delinquent medical debt on their credit reports.

Many times this medical debt can be bought and sold for pennies on the dollar. For example, a collection agency can spend ten dollars to purchase $1,000 worth of debt. Yet, the collectors will still attempt to get the full amount from people who owe the debt.

You may be tempted to ignore a medical debt lawsuit and hope it goes away, but this is one of the worst things you can do because the debt collector will automatically win by default.  There are steps you can take if you are facing a medical debt lawsuit.

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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.

 

Top 10 Reasons People File for Bankruptcy

February 17, 2018 Posted by kingcade

While it is commonly assumed that people who file for bankruptcy cannot resist the temptation of using credit cards or are self-proclaimed shopaholics, most people go bankrupt for other reasons.  Here are the most common reasons people file for bankruptcy.

  1. Medical debt. Medical expenses account for approximately 62 percent of personal bankruptcy filings in the U.S., according to a recent Harvard University study.  And interestingly enough, the study revealed that 72 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy due to their medical bills had some form of health insurance.
  2. Reduced income. Companies are cutting back on expenses and for many employees that means pay cuts. Less income, combined with an unexpected expense can end in bankruptcy.
  3. Job loss. The sudden loss of a job can quickly deplete ones savings.  Approximately 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and 21% live month-to-month.
  4. Credit card debt. This is not always the result of irresponsible spending, but can accumulate due to an unexpected medical expense, illness or job loss.
  5. Divorce. This can mean a significant loss of income and assets for both partners. It can also mean taking on a portion of your partner’s debt if you co-signed on a loan during the marriage.
  6. Unexpected expenses. Emergencies can happen to any one of us, whether your vehicle breaks down, you suffer a debilitating illness or a catastrophic storm damages your home—these events can deplete savings quickly.
  7. Student loans. Even though these are difficult to discharge in bankruptcy, statistics show that student loans account for at least one percent of all U.S. bankruptcy filings, which translates to approximately 15,000 bankruptcies a year.
  8. Utility payments. For many homeowners, the rising costs of utilities- such as heating, air conditioning and electricity- can quickly add up and pave the way to bankruptcy.
  9. Foreclosure. A number of people file for bankruptcy in an effort to save their homes from foreclosure.
  10. Money mismanagement. Money management has become more difficult, thanks in part to inflation.  A combination of poor spending habits and incorrect budgeting can quickly spiral into debt.

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If you have any questions on this topic or 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 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.