Medical Debt

What Are the Options When You Can’t Pay Medical Debt?

Medical debt presents a major problem for so many in South Florida. The cost of receiving medical care, even with health insurance, can push a financially stable person into debt. Escaping that debt can be a struggle. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has pushed countless consumers further into debt, and with a second wave of the virus likely, the problems could be far from over.

Medical debt is the leading cause of approximately two-thirds (2/3) of all consumer bankruptcies filed. According to a recent poll from U.S. News of approximately 1,500 Americans, just under 40 percent of them reported having serious trouble with managing their medical bills with at least one of these bills being sent to collections. Within this group, seven percent have been sued for collection of their medical debt. Six percent of them said they filed bankruptcy due to medical debt. 

Debt Collection, Medical Debt

Military Hospitals Aggressively Pursuing Medical Debt

Medical debt collectors can be relentless, and when someone has no money or resources to pay medical debts, this process can be extremely stressful. Recent reports have shown that private hospitals are not the only entities persistently collecting on medical debt. Federally backed governmental institutions, including military hospitals, are some of the worst offenders when it comes to pushing patients hard to pay on their medical bills.

A recent piece in The Atlantic highlighted just how dire the situation has gotten for many individuals. A Texas man, Ricardo Gonzalez Jurado, faced aggressive debt collection efforts from Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC), a trauma center where he received treatment after sustaining significant injuries on a work site. Gonzalez Jurado did not have the funds to pay his bills in full, so he began a payment plan with the hospital. He kept to the payment plan and even agreed to pay more after the hospital requested higher payments. He later received a letter from BAMC after some time stating that his balance had been paid in full even though he had only paid a portion of the bill at that point. Despite trying to reach the hospital and continuing to send in his payments, BAMC returned his monthly checks.

Bankruptcy Law, Medical Debt

Why So Many Americans Over the Age of 55 are Filing for Bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy offers filers a fresh financial start, but for many bankruptcy petitioners, that start comes later in life. In the past three decades, the number of people over the age of 55 who have filed for bankruptcy has gone up significantly. This increase has many financial experts wondering why so many individuals nearing retirement are filing for bankruptcy.

According to a paper by Robert Lawless, the percentage of older Americans, specifically between the ages of 55 and 64, increased by 66 percent between the year 1991 and 2016. The number of bankruptcies filed by individuals between 65 and 74 increased by more than 200 percent between this time period. In fact, approximately 12 percent of all bankruptcy filers are over the age of 65.