Overwhelming medical bills is one of the main reasons consumers in Oklahoma and across the United States consider filing for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, a common misconception is that medical bills are exempt from discharge in bankruptcy, which is incorrect in most cases. If you are struggling under a mountain of medical bills and you think bankruptcy can help, contact our experienced attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center to discuss your legal options. You may be able to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to discharge or reorganize your debt, and our lawyers can help you navigate the sometimes-complicated process of filing for bankruptcy in the state of Oklahoma.
Discharging Medical Debt in Bankruptcy
One of the biggest bankruptcy myths out there is that seeking bankruptcy protection from the courts won’t help relieve consumers’ medical bills, when in fact, the opposite is true. In 99% of cases, medical bills can be discharged in bankruptcy, although there are typically other factors that must be considered first. For instance, whether you choose to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, all of your debts must be included in the filing, not just medical bills. In other words, there’s no such thing as filing bankruptcy with the sole purpose of discharging medical debt; all of your debts will be considered in the case, including credit cards, old utility bills, signature loans and any unsecured debt you owe.
Many Bankruptcies Related to Medical Bills
It’s a common situation consumers find themselves in when they are struggling with medical bills and feel that they could handle the rest of their debt if only they could discharge their medical bills. In fact, in 2007, more than 60% of bankruptcies filed in the United States were attributed to medical bills, according to a study conducted in 2009. Unfortunately, this is often the result of a medical emergency or an unforeseen event that causes the person to incur enormous amounts of medical debt. Researchers involved in the study concluded that in these so-called “medical bankruptcies,” consumers either had more than $5,000 in medical bills, lost significant income due to an illness, or mortgaged their home to pay for medical bills.
Contact a Knowledgeable Attorney for Help
“Unless you’re a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you’re one illness away from financial ruin in this country,” said Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., lead author in the bankruptcy study. “If an illness is long enough and expensive enough, private insurance offers very little protection against medical bankruptcy.” Remember though, when it comes to bankruptcy, it’s all or nothing, and it’s considered a regular bankruptcy no matter what type of debt you wish to discharge. If you are facing unpayable debt in the form of medical bills, and you think you might be eligible for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Oklahoma, contact our attorneys at Oklahoma Legal Center today for legal help.