Medical Bills in Kent
Most bankruptcies are filed because of medical debt. It has been estimated that 20% of the US population between 19 and 64 struggle with keeping up their payments for medical care. Even for people with health insurance, the high deductibles of may policies can result in high medical debt. Medical debt is always dischargeable in bankruptcy. Everybody in the bankruptcy system understands the problem with medical bills and are used to seeing people file bankruptcy for medical debt.
Some people have the idea that there is a special kind of “medical bankruptcy” but you can not file bankruptcy just for medical bills. When you file bankruptcy, you must include all your debt. You can not pick and choose which creditors you include and which ones you don’t.
If you do not pay a medical bill, the medical provider can sue you and garnish your wages. Some small doctors or dentist’s offices will sue for a relatively small amount of debt. Because you can only file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years, you should not file a bankruptcy for a small amount of debt. If you think that you will have more uninsured medical expenses, you should wait to file bankruptcy until after you receive this care.
Some medical providers may not want to treat you after you file bankruptcy but most will continue to see you even if you discharge a debt to them. If you want to pay a doctor before you file, make sure it is not over $600 within 90 days of filing or the trustee could sue the doctor to spread that payment around to other creditors. There is nothing wrong with voluntarily paying any creditors after the discharge, though you are under no obligation to do so.
Be aware that, if you have high medical debt listed on your bankruptcy, the trustee will wonder if you can sue someone for an injury. Any recovery from a law suit is an asset in a bankruptcy. You should let both your bankruptcy attorney and personal injury attorney know if you are in this situation. You can use your bankruptcy exemptions to protect much if not all the recovery. However, if you do not list an asset you put yourself in danger of losing your right to an exemption or even being accused of a bankruptcy crime.