Are Medical Debts Dischargeable in Bankruptcy?

Posted on Feb 09, 2015 By Cynthia Lawson

Knoxville Attorney Cynthia LawsonThere are a lot of myths, half-truths and misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy, but this particular one comes up over and over again:

Can Your Medical Debts Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

The answer is YES, ALL medical debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy.  While I have no idea where this misconception comes from, a great number of people certainly believe it to be true.  Interestingly, medical bills are the leading cause of most personal bankruptcies, even if the person is covered by medical insurance.  In fact, medical debts are so burdensome that recently two Senators proposed legislation that would create a Medical Bankruptcy.  The bill proposes changes to the current Bankruptcy Code, and would allow those whose debts are primarily medical in nature the ability to file bankruptcy in a more streamlined fashion.  You can track the bill’s progress.

Medical debts, unlike most other consumer debts, can cause problems far greater than just the debt itself.  In most cases, medical issues will result in the inability to work or produce income for some period of time.  This only compounds an already bad situation.  Worse still, almost all medical bills are turned over to debt collectors.  Most of these debt collectors are very aggressive and do not care about you, your family, or why you have not paid the medical debts. They are only interested in one thing; taking money from you and your family to pay the debts you cannot afford to pay.  In most cases the debt collectors are local attorneys and they will sue you in civil court in order to collect the debt.  From there, they will proceed to garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts and/or put liens against your property.  Often, the only choice most of our clients have is to file for bankruptcy in order to stop this process and regain some control over their life.

If you are struggling with medical debts, please call one of our offices.  We always offer a free, no obligation initial consultation with a seasoned and skilled bankruptcy attorney.  The attorney will advise you of your rights and the best course of action for you and your family.

More information on medical bills and bankruptcy: