Posts Tagged: ‘medical debt bankruptcies’

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.

 

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.

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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 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.

The Dangers of Medical Credit Cards

June 22, 2017 Posted by kingcade

A medical credit card can help you cover an unexpected medical expense or procedure, but it is important to know the costs associated with these type cards.  Offered at most doctors and veterinary offices nationwide, medical credit cards are designed to spread out the payments on medical-related bills you cannot afford to pay upfront.

Approval rates for these cards are high- you can even get approved right at the doctor’s office, according to CreditCards.com.  These cards offer a type of financing called “deferred interest,” which sounds appealing in theory, but beware of the consequences.  If the balance of the card is not paid in full by the end of the agreed-upon payment period, you are hit with all of the accrued interest at one time, which is typically a very high interest rate.  For example, CareCredit’s APR is 26.99%, while the average credit card has an interest rate of around 16.5%.

Something else to remember: the promotional financing applies only to “healthcare-related” expenses, so if you use the card to buy groceries or fill up your gas tank, you will incur interest charges if you do not pay the bill in full during the billing cycle- even if it is within the promotional period.

One of the top medical credit card companies, CareCredit has come under fire when it comes to their lending and enrollment practices.  CareCredit was forced to refund customers$34 million in 2013 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for deceptive enrollment practices, because consumers thought they were signing up for interest free cards.

If you have medical debt, the best option is to work out a payment plan with the doctor’s office or hospital.

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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, 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