If you were ill and now have significant medical debt, you may be overwhelmed by the amount that you’re expected to pay. Realistically, medical debts add up quickly when you’re hospitalized, and those bills may be more than you’ll earn even if you work every day for years to come.
Medical debt is one of the greatest debt-related issues in America, so if you’re struggling with it, you shouldn’t feel ashamed or like you’re alone. Many people deal with medical debt and take action to have it reduced or eliminated completely.
1 in 5 American households does have medical debt
According to one recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau, around 19% of all American homes carry medical debt. The average amount is around $2,000, but some families have much more debt than that.
When a person can’t pay their medical bills, they may have their debt sent to collections. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act does limit collections, but creditors can still attempt to collect on a debt until the person negotiates a settlement or goes into bankruptcy.
With the FDCPA, you shouldn’t have to worry about late-night or early morning calls from collectors, calls at work or harassment about a debt. However, medical debt could still negatively impact your credit score.
What can you do to overcome medical debt?
Medical debt is unsecured, which means that you can attempt to have it discharged in bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, allows you to seek the complete discharge of medical debt. If you opt for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be asked to pay on the debt for the next three to five years, but then any remaining debt load will be discharged.
Medical debt is a problem for people in this country, but there are avenues to help you address and eliminate it. With the right approach, you may be able to have your debt discharged or reduced, so you can get your finances back under control and feel more secure. From negotiating to seeking bankruptcy, you have options to eliminate debts that are weighing you down.