Medical expenses are linked to bankruptcy filings

Healthcare remains a hot topic of debate across the country, not just in terms of being a divisive political issue but in real terms affecting real people in Tennessee. Arguments on whether it is a right or not, whether it should be mandatory or optional, and who pays for it all pale in comparison to the fundamental question of what happens when an individual needs a medical procedure that he or she simply cannot afford. Sadly, many choose to do without, resulting in further deterioration to their well-being. Others opt to move forward with the necessary care but often experience a different form of negative consequence.

A recent medical study revealed a high correlation between the effect expenses caused by illness or injury had on a family and the likelihood of filing for bankruptcy. For the study period, the researchers found that well over half of the filed bankruptcies included medical expenses within the relevant debt. Over 40 percent reported illness-related income loss as a contributing factor, and many reported both.

For many, there is a perceived stigma to acquiring debt and considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a remedy. While there may be some who spend more than they earn in an irresponsible manner, that is not the case with those who find their financial lives turned upside down by an unexpected medical emergency. Until solutions are found for the way in which medical care is provided for all Americans, this trend seems likely to continue.

For those who qualify, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can provide a fresh start. A bankruptcy lawyer can explain how the laws work, how debt may be extinguished, and the effect on one's credit.

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