My blog is more of a heart-felt reflection about the struggles of owing medical bills rather than a scholarly review of a bankruptcy topic. I personally know several people juggling huge amounts of medical bills and how much they struggle and worry about paying for their or their dependent’s needed medical care. I meet with clients daily who have these same struggles. It puts a further toll on their health and significantly impacts their relationships with spouses, family, friends and their work life.
Medical Insurance Woes
The struggle is just as real for those who have medical insurance as those who do not. The amount of the money owed may be more if you do not have insurance but none the less, the out-of-pocket amount needed when you do have insurance can be just as daunting. Most of the time with medical insurance you have to meet your deductible and then once it is paid; you have a percentage of the bill you still must pay. Although there is a cap in most cases, that cap can be rather large. A common amount I hear is a $10,000.00 out-of-pocket maximum for a family. Most people I talk to do not have an extra $10,000.00 just sitting around in their rainy day fund; or if they do, it would wipe them out completely.
Besides worrying about the amount of debt that is owed, it is nearly a full time bookkeepers job to decipher who is owed and how much. Everything is billed separately and might be months before you receive all of the bills, so planning what to pay and when to pay it can be akin to a role of the dice.
So, what do you do? If you do not have a rainy day fund enough to cover all out-of-pocket medical expenses, you may want to consult an attorney about bankruptcy. Our offices offer a free consultation and are happy to help. Please don’t get overwhelmed and just ignore the bills. In the State of Tennessee, at least, medical providers can sue you and if they get a judgment can garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts and/or put a lien on any real property.
Heather Ellis Banks is an Associate Attorney at the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Knoxville, Tennessee. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Memphis, Cecil.C. Humphreys School of Law. She has been helping consumers to navigate through the bankruptcy process since 2005. Read her full bio here.