The Bankruptcy Law Clinic Blog

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Is Bankruptcy an Option if My Debt Includes Medical Bills?

The simple answer to this questions is, “Yes, you can declare bankruptcy if medical bills have caused you financial hardship.” As a matter of fact, many people have few financial issues until a medical emergency strikes.  The medical bills are what trigger their need for bankruptcy. 

However, if you have medical bills AND credit card debt, you must include both in your bankruptcy filing.  You do not have the option to pick and choose which debts are included in your bankruptcy.  Likewise, you are not allowed to choose to include one credit card but not another.  All of the debts that fall under a similar classification will be included in the bankruptcy.  This means if you have credit card debt and you were able to keep up with the monthly payments (the cards are not behind or in default), but you are struggling with medical bills, it will still all be included in the bankruptcy.  

If you are worried about being able to get credit post bankruptcy, don’t be.  Most of our clients get credit cards a few months after bankruptcy and a 720 credit score is achievable in as little as 18 months.  

Medical bills and credit card debt, as well as some tax debts and personal loans, are “general unsecured debts.” This means that under bankruptcy law, they must all be treated in the same manner.  In the end, when you file for bankruptcy, all of these general unsecured debts must be included in your bankruptcy.

What this means is bankruptcy might not be right for everyone, but it can be a very effective tool for helping those with medical debt.  An experienced bankruptcy expert can help you evaluate your specific circumstances.

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