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What can I do to address medical bills that I cannot pay?

It is never a pleasant or relaxing experience making a trip to the emergency room. Such a visit is usually laden with uncertainty, fear and a need for answers. When doctors are attempting to understand the root of a problem by taking blood, conducting scans and the like, the patient is generally cooperative in pursuit of an answer. Most people don't think to stop the health professional that is administering tests to say, "Hey, wait a minute! How much is this going to cost me?"

When an individual is afraid for their health or their life, money seems immaterial. Unfortunately, when the panic subsides and the bill comes, many individuals feel shocked at how expensive a trip to the emergency room can be. Not everyone in New Jersey is covered by a health insurance policy. For those that are not, a trip to an emergency room, or developing a serious illness or disease can spell financial ruin. 

In fact, 60 percent of Americans that file for personal bankruptcy are pushed into their unmanageable debt because of medical expenses. The good news is that unlike some debts, medical bills can be discharged through bankruptcy. There are several other debts that can also be discharged through personal bankruptcy when the bills become unmanageable.

There are two types of personal bankruptcy that an individual can file under: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Understanding which chapter to file under and which debts can be discharged under which chapter can be confusing. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide an individual struggling with debt in New Jersey make the appropriate moves to find the surface, breathe and continue forward in financial health without being pushed back under by crippling debt.

Source: The New York Review of Books, "Health Care: The New American Sadism," Charles Simic, April 2, 2013

  • Our firm has experience helping individuals in New Jersey find the surface. For more information about personal bankruptcy, please refer to our page detailing a few points about what bankruptcy can and cannot do.

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