Posts Tagged: ‘medical debt’

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.

How the Affordable Healthcare Act Had an Impact on Personal Bankruptcy Filings

May 4, 2017 Posted by kingcade

As legislators and the President focus their efforts on the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, they may want to keep in mind the financial consequences.  Since its inception, far fewer Americans have filed for personal bankruptcy.  Personal bankruptcy filings are down 50 percent since 2010.  Coincidentally, those same seven years represent the time frame when the 2010 federal law designed to provide health insurance coverage for the majority of Americans took effect.

Personal bankruptcy filings have dropped from 1,536,799 in 2010 to 770,846 in 2016.  Medical bills remain the leading cause of personal bankruptcy.  Unlike other debts, medical bills are often unexpected, involuntary, and can be for very large amounts.

Two other contributing factors add to the decline: an improved economy and changes to bankruptcy laws in 2005 that made it more difficult and costly to file. However, expanded health coverage played a significant role in the recent decline of personal bankruptcy filings.

Some of the most important financial protections of the Affordable Care Act apply to all consumers, whether they get their coverage through Obamacare or the private insurance marketplace. These provisions include mandated coverage for any pre-existing conditions, an end to annual and lifetime coverage caps.  It also allows young people to be covered by a family policy until age 26.

The first attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was in March, failed to gain enough Congressional support and never came to a vote. Then in April, details of a new replacement plan were released. Although President Trump has said that the new version will cover pre-existing conditions, the revised law gives states discretion to allow insurance companies to increase rates for consumers with an existing illness.

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.

 

Tips for Seniors Struggling with Credit Card Debt

May 2, 2017 Posted by kingcade

If you are a senior struggling with credit card debt, you are not alone.  For the first time, middle-class households headed by someone 50-plus years of age carried more credit card debt on average than households of people younger than 50, according to a recent study by Demos National Survey on Credit Card Debt.  Half of the respondents said they carried medical debt on their credit cards and a third said they used credit cards to pay for daily expenses.

Seniors carry credit card debt for a variety of reasons.  Some are still paying off educational loans or their children’s educational loans.  Many seniors are carrying credit card debt into retirement.  The debt may have been management when they were working, but has become a burden when their income level drops.  Oftentimes, medical debt compounds the problem, as health insurance only covers a portion of healthcare costs.

Here are some tips for seniors to help take control and manage their credit card debt:

  • Find a nonprofit credit counselor.  The sooner you seek help, the better.
  • Contact your credit card company to see if you can work out a payment plan.
  • Adjust your lifestyle. Cut your expenses (i.e. – expensive cell phone plans, cable and Internet packages);
  • Get help with budgeting. Paying off your debts only works if your spending is under control.  Know where your money is going every month.  Making a few small changes  to your monthly expenses can add up and give you more money to pay down debt.
  • For medical debt, talk with your doctor’s office to see what your options are. Avoid medical credit cards they may offer you; these come with very high interest rates, regardless of your credit score.
  • Consider a reverse mortgage. There are many ways you can use your home to get through difficult financial times, but there are risks associated with taking this route.  Make sure this will solve your financial problem without adding to it.
  • Consider bankruptcy. If you are struggling with insurmountable credit card or medical debt, bankruptcy may be right for you.  This option will allow you to reorganize your financial situation and discharge your debts if you cannot pay them.  There are several different types of bankruptcy, so you want to carefully weigh your options.  Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations and will advise you on the best course of action.

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 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: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/retirement/2017/04/09/seniors-rising-credit-card-debt-squeezes-tight/100102614/

 

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.

New Survey Finds Medical Debt is the No. 1 Reason Collection Agencies Contact Consumers

February 3, 2017 Posted by kingcade

Medical debt is the most common reason consumers receive calls from debt collectors, according to a first of its kind nationwide survey.

“The study by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that 59 percent of people who reported they had been contacted by a debt collector said it was for medical services,” NPR reported. “Telecommunications bills were the second most common type of overdue bill for which debt collectors pursued payment, at 37 percent, and utilities were third, reported by 28 percent.”

The study, which examined consumer experiences with debt collectors, included more than 2,000 people and was performed between December 2014 and March 2015.  The survey also found that more than one in four consumers felt threatened when a debt collector contacted them.

The study’s authors said medical debt is unique compared to other types of debt collection examined in the survey, as it was widespread across various demographic and credit-score groups.

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:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/medical-bills-are-the-most-common-reason-for-debt-collector/article_384da034-e33e-11e6-a5e0-17c0fcdce41b.html

http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/finance/medical-debt-is-no-1-reason-collection-agencies-contact-consumers.html