When you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy through a professional bankruptcy attorney in Chicago, medical bills, credit card debt and other unsecured debt is wiped out. While some property may be used to pay off creditors, your primary residence will be safe.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to pay off outstanding secured debt such as mortgage payments over an extended period, and you will be able to wipe out most of your medical bills in the process. Bankruptcy is a valid and prudent way of managing your finances if you are unable to make payments and the medical debt collection agencies are at your throat.
If rising medical costs are sending you into shock, the statistics of Americans being unable to pay their medical bills is enough to give you a heart attack. In 2007, and this is before the current economic crisis, an American family filed for bankruptcy every 90 seconds, citing medical debt collection and unpaid medical bills as the reason.
Three quarters of them had medical insurance. (Medical Bankruptcy in The United States: The American Journal of Medicine) These kinds of figures are startling, and it has gotten even worse during the recession. Bankruptcy though is the final protection for American consumers when it comes to medical debt collection and unpaid medical bills.
Medical Debt Collection: Your Rights as a Consumer
- You do not have to bow to the relentless pressure applied by medical debt collection companies. If they are hassling you for unpaid medical bills, consult with an attorney. Filing for bankruptcy is one way of stopping the calls. Once you have filed for bankruptcy through your bankruptcy lawyer, no creditor is allowed to make any contact with you in terms of the law.
- Medical debt collection companies are only allowed to contact you telephonically between the hours of 8am and 9pm. They are not allowed to visit your home or place of employment. There are stringent rules for the medical debt collection companies and you.
- The FDCPA (Fair debt Collection Practices Act) protects American consumers and if you feel that you are being treated unfairly, then consult a lawyer about how to get your creditors off your back. You can ask a debt collector to no telephone you and address all enquiries in writing to you, and they have to agree. They should also never contact your employer, neighbors or family members in respect of your debt. You’d be surprised at the use of embarrassment as a scare tactic, but it does happen.
Remember that paying a debt through a medical debt collection agency does not mean that you have a clean record. Don’t feel that you have to pay, to get rid of the debt collector. Your credit record may still be damaged. If you are facing the situation of being handed over to a medical debt collection agency, you are probably unable to pay anyway, and your best recourse may be to consult a bankruptcy attorney in Chicago for professional legal advice.