Posts Tagged: ‘medical debt bankruptcies’

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.

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.

 

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

 

What consumers need to know about FICO 9

October 11, 2016 Posted by kingcade

If you do not already know, there is a new credit score called FICO 9.  The new score comes with some important changes in the way people who have medical debt and other consumer debt are scored.  So with all of the different credit scoring models out there- what makes FICO 9 so different?

First, FICO is the most widely used credit score in the country. In fact, 90% of all credit lenders (whether they are offering you a mortgage, car, or personal loan) use the FICO score in some way to determine your credit-worthiness.

More than 64 million Americans have some kind of medical collection record on their credit reports, according to Experian. A staggering 99.4% of medical debts are reported to credit bureaus by collection agencies, damaging consumers’ credit scores in the process. Consumer advocates have long been pushing to make credit scoring models more lenient on people who have medical debt.

With FICO 9, medical collections will be treated differently from non-medical collections, like credit cards.  Your credit score will be less damaged by a medical bill you cannot afford to pay as opposed to a department store credit card you ran up the balance on.

This is a big win for consumers. Many people who struggle with medical debt get that way through no fault of their own.  Whether you get sick or there is an accident that causes you to miss work, even with health insurance you cannot always control how high your medical bills become.

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.

Top 5 Bankruptcy Myths Debunked

June 13, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Filing for bankruptcy is not an easy decision and many people fear a social stigma after they file.  The truth is the stigma against debtors and those who file for bankruptcy has greatly decreased over the last 20 years, and there is no indication that debtors will be treated less favorably after filing for bankruptcy.  In fact, it is oftentimes easier to reestablish your credit after filing for bankruptcy, because you are essentially given a “clean slate.”

To make the bankruptcy process a little easier to understand, we have dispelled the top five bankruptcy myths.

Myth 1: You will lose everything. You may think that filing for bankruptcy means you have to give up your home, your car, your flat screen TV, and all of your assets.  This is simply not true. The vast majority of Chapter 7 cases are no-asset cases, meaning the debtor gives up no possessions. This happens for two reasons. First, you can allot for basic assets, called exemptions that are necessary for day-to-day living. What you can exempt varies from state to state, so be sure to discuss exemptions with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. For possessions that are not part of the exemption, creditors likely don’t want them.  Under Chapter 13, you keep all of your assets, but the value of them figures into your repayment plan.

Myth 2: You will be relieved of all your debts. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will provide you relief from most of your debts. However, there are some exemptions. These include: recent taxes, child or spousal support, student loan debt, and debts that are the result of fraud you have committed.

Myth 3: Paying off your debt is a better option. Filing for bankruptcy is the biggest financial decision you will ever make, but it doesn’t mean it is a bad idea. If your debts are more than 50% of your annual income and you cannot pay them off in five years, bankruptcy is likely your best option.

Myth 4: Filing for bankruptcy means I have failed. Given that the number one reason for filing for bankruptcy is due to medical debt, this could not be less true.  No surprise, the cost of medical deductibles has grown seven times faster than wages have risen. Many bankruptcies are likely the result of stagnant wages, not poor financial mismanagement.  Whatever your reason is for filing, think of bankruptcy as a tool that can help you get a fresh start and take control of your finances.

Myth 5: Bankruptcy will ruin my financial future. A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed that those who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010 had an average credit score of 538.2 on Equifax’s scale of 280 to 850. But the average score jumped to 620 by the time those bankruptcies were finalized, approximately six to eight months later. There are many ways to rebuild your credit after filing for bankruptcy. There are certain limitations you will face after filing, but taking advantage of the right financial tools can go a long way in helping you get back on the right path for your financial future.

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.

Related Resources:

http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0613/Five-bankruptcy-myths-dispelled

Late Night Comedian John Oliver Makes ‘TV History’ by forgiving $15 million in Medical Debt

June 10, 2016 Posted by kingcade

Nearly 9,000 consumers were relieved of their medical bills courtesy of HBO host John Oliver. As part of a segment examining the unscrupulous practices of debt purchasers on his show, “Last Week Tonight,” he forgave nearly $15 million in medical debt for consumers.

Oliver’s show engages in a form of investigative comedy, this time examining an overlooked industry.  Institutions often sell their debt for pennies on the dollar to companies who then attempt to collect on the bills. These companies operate with little regulation and sometimes employ abusive collection practices to intimidate people into paying.

The show set up its own company to acquire $15 million worth of debt owed to hospitals in Texas, paying only $60,000 for the debt. Oliver described how “disturbingly easy” it was to set up the company; they called it Central Asset Recovery Professionals, and incorporated it in Mississippi to make the purchase.

The consumer’s medical debts ranged from $50 to more than $250,000. Since the debts were incurred in Texas hospitals, most of the people who owe money are from the state, Oliver said.

Oliver went on to say, people who owe bills should pay them but should not be forced to choose between paying medical debts and paying for food and shelter. He said people should never use credit cards to pay off medical debts.

Click here 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.