<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Don't Let Health Costs Drive You Into Medical Bankruptcy. And Don't Let Money Woes Make You Sick.
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Medical Bankruptcy? When Your Health Spending Accelerates Your Illness
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Medical Bankruptcy – The Vicious Spiral Dive
When a pilot gets into a spiral dive, he is in a disorienting situation. There, even his efforts to take control can go awry and send him down. When a patient is ill and in financial trouble, even necessary efforts to work can worsen health and finances. 20-50% of all bankruptcy in the US is a result of medical problems, and this is a tragedy for everyone. You lose your health, your ability to pay for healthcare, and much of what you have built up all the years. You can lose your spirit.

We want you to avoid the risk of medical bankruptcy. Like a plane, once you get too close to this problem, it can happen too fast to pull out. So avoid the risk now.

How can it happen? The soaring cost of medical care accumulates whether you have enough medical insurance or not. If you are uninsured medical bankruptcy can be a fact of life unless you work ahead of time to avoid it. Even if you avoid this dire problem, you can lose so much that is important to your family and you.

What can you do? Start with the basics, and look into them twice.
1) Many insurance policies have restrictions and limits that you may not be aware of. Even universal health coverage would not protect many. Go over the policy carefully. Listen to others with coverage problems, and particularly seek out those with your policy. Look for ways to make up for it’s deficiencies, and always be aware when you are getting close to them.
2) Now that you know what will be covered, work to chose medical care that will not put you in jeopardy. Do they accept your insurance? If they require authorization requests from your doctor, be sure to mention it in advance. But more importantly, read the doctor’s note requesting it. Too often delays and even denials are due to an ineffective or erroneous note. (The first PowerPatient rule: get and check your records).
3) If your coverage is not working, look for hospitals and doctors that will treat you affordably. Because the crazy quilt of coverage does not follow logic, better care can be cheaper. This may require you to travel for major types of treatment. But some travel is better than long lasting bankruptcy .
4) Be sure you get the right treatment, make it work, and make it last. Many physicians will recommend what they know, in good faith. But challenging medical problems can be made worse and important treatments denied because of such steps as surgery that was too soon, or not well fitted to you.
5) Be a PowerPatient. Study and use our web site. Health is wealth, and your wealth is crucial to being healthy. We want to help you with this threat that strikes too many patients.

If things have gone too far and you face bankruptcy, how do you handle it? We are not a legal site, and it needs a skilled attorney. But, here are some pointers:
1) Medical Bankruptcy is not a specific type of bankruptcy, there is not a separate law for this entity.
2) You may be able to negotiate payment schedules you can manage. This is likely better than legal action. Your creditors are also more lenient in a medical bankruptcy case, over a normal one and will often even work with you to help you to get rid of your debt, rather then having to go through with a bankruptcy. So, before you actually do file for a medical bankruptcy it might not be a bad idea to get with your debtors and creditors and tell them you are planning on filing medical bankruptcy. You debtors will probably rather try to work out something between yourself and them, rather then having to deal with the courts and will often help you by setting up a more lenient payment plan
3) Chapter 7 offers full discharge of all medical expenses. Trustees seldom doubt the necessity of discharge of hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses for disabled individuals who earn average incomes. Property owned is the primary issue considered when filing. All non-exempt property must be surrender according to Chapter 7. In particular, allowable exemptions for homestead equity is limited in all but two states, and when patients require the greatest security, homes may be lost.For anyone facing medical bankruptcy, legal counsel regarding property exemptions and residency requirements is essential.
4) Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to set up a payment plan to pay out of your current earnings, rather then having property seized (as in a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing). When filing a medical bankruptcy, you will find that the payment plan is much more lenient in Chapter 13 then if you are filing simply because of bad finance handling. Again, this is because a medical bankruptcy case is considered a "hardship case".