As many Tennesseans know, life is full of unexpected events that can wreak havoc on their personal finances. Some Tennesseans know firsthand that health problems can create some of the worst financial problems. Sometimes, income and savings cannot cover medical and related expenses and debts often pile up beyond the ability of a wage earner or household to pay. Eliminating such debts can become nearly impossible. One study notes that some 40 percent of Americans carry some health-care debt, and medical debt is the main reason people file for bankruptcy protection and debt relief.
Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, many Americans, including Tennessee residents, may be expecting relief from the financial burdens of medical debt. Unfortunately, that may not be the case, especially for people who need medications to maintain their health.
Debts from small credit card purchases, mortgages and student loans are different from those accrued because of medical events, which are seldom planned and often arrive with enormous costs that may or may not be covered by health insurance. Even if a person's medical debt is not insurmountable and does not lead to bankruptcy, it can still affect a person's credit score.
For many Chattanooga residents who are facing mounting debt, it is usually medical bills which are the source of that debt. However, many things can be done to get debt relief for those large medical bills.
As many Chattanooga residents unfortunately know, paying off medical bills is often a timely and extremely costly matter. Often times, those who need debt relief from medical bills have to suffer through having their credit damaged while they try to pay it all off. However, relief may now be on the way.
Debt is a part of life. People get loans for their houses, cars, and education. Yet, a new report has found that millions of Americans are struggling to pay off their medical debt. The study, conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, found that 41 percent of adults had problems paying off their medical debt or were paying the debt off over a period of time. Additionally, 29 percent of those having difficulty had more than $4,000 in unpaid medical bills. A significant portion of those surveyed, 16 percent, had more than $8,000 in medical debt.
For some Chattanooga residents, bill paying time can often be a difficult time full of hard choices about which bills are most pressing. For those with medical bills, those hard choices become even harder and debt relief may seem more and more out of reach.
When a personal bankruptcy is filed, any property, including potential claims against others, becomes property of the bankruptcy estate. What this means is that any lawsuit the debtor would typically have the right to bring, must in most cases be brought by a federal official called a "trustee" instead.
As many Tennessee residents are no doubt aware, in this tough economy, many people have lost their health insurance when they have lost their jobs. Health care reform is supposed to address that, but it remains to be seen if it will work or be repealed. In the meantime, many people have mountains of medical debt piling up that they are unable to pay back.