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Confounding conundrum of medical debt causes financial confusion

No one wakes up one morning and decides to file for bankruptcy for no apparent reason. The decision to file for bankruptcy can arise from several scenarios. Two of the most common are the failure to manage debt effectively over a period of time and facing unexpected financial obligations.

The second scenario is often caused by medical debt. Statistics show that almost two-thirds of bankruptcies originate with medical debt. Even when insurance is available, large deductibles are often left to be paid.

While the exorbitant costs of medical care in and of itself can be good enough reason for relief from medical debt, another problem arises from the way medical debt is handled and not just by the patient.

According to a recent study, a medical bill has 289 chances to be mishandled during its life cycle. Admissions personnel enter data. Handwritten notes are made on your medical chart. Handwritten notes are translated to computers. Computer data is coded for insurance coverage. Insurance companies interpret the information to pay as little of your claim as possible. Each step has the potential to involve human error alone or in combination with computer error.

But the potential for pitfalls does not stop there. Depending on your treatment, you could receive a bill from the hospital for your room and a separate bill from the hospital pharmacy for any medication you received during your stay.

If you have surgery or another procedure, you may receive a bill from an anesthesiologist for making you comfortable during the procedure and another bill from a radiologist who took scans to diagnose your condition. If you were transported by ambulance, you will also get a bill for that, too.

All it takes is one error to start the downhill process to accumulated medical debt. Regardless of the reason, a New Jersey licensed attorney could help you understand the medical debt process. If it hasn't gone too far, an attorney may be able to help you manage these financial challenges without filing for bankruptcy.

If you have become overwhelmed to the point that the medical bills are no longer manageable, an attorney can help guide you through the bankruptcy process. Either way, don't let your medical debt give you more pain than the treatment from which it originated.

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At the law offices of William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in Toms River and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Toms River, Neptune, Trenton, Middletown, Red Bank, Wall, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Asbury Park, Old Bridge, Jamesburg, Barnegat, Forked River, Manahawkin, Ocean Township, Brick, Manasquan, Howell, Freehold, Hazlet, Bradley Beach, Brown Mills, Long Branch, Keansburg, Marlboro, Bayville, Beachwood, Whiting, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Burlington County and Mercer County.