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Coping with medical debt in Ohio

There is never a good time to deal with a medical debt. In many cases, it can present an unexpected and large bill that can put a patient's finances and those of his or her family in peril. One study found that 40 percent of Americans have trouble repaying medical debt, and it is one of the most common reasons why Americans file for bankruptcy.

When receiving a medical bill, it is a good idea to review it to ensure its accuracy. This may be important if debt collectors or others call or take legal action in an attempt to collect the debt. If the bill is accurate, it may be possible to negotiate the amount down or work out a payment plan with the billing entity.

Those who don't have health insurance may be able to lower their bill by paying in cash whenever possible. Medical debtors who has a good relationship with a health care provider may be able to make payments over time for certain treatment. Although a debt collector may say that someone who owes a medical debt cannot get further treatment until the debt is paid, this is generally not the case. Individuals with low incomes may be eligible for Medicaid or for discounts that are mandated by state law.

Those who are struggling with medical bills may wish to file for bankruptcy. Depending on the individual's assets and income, it may be possible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which may allow for quick and total discharge of unsecured debts. A bankruptcy attorney may be able to help those looking to file for bankruptcy understand their rights throughout the process and the benefits of doing so. Some benefits of bankruptcy include an automatic stay on collections activities and the ability to retain certain types of property.

Source: Debt.org, "Medical Debt and Collections", Bill Fay, accessed on Jan. 21, 2015

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