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Unpaid medical bills? Bankruptcy could be an option

Any Florida resident with unpaid medical bills will tell you that medical debt is frustrating. It is not like anyone wants to have unplanned medical emergencies. Yet, when an emergency happens, there is no other choice than to get the medical attention that is needed.

Medical debt can seem overwhelming. This is why many Florida residents with massive amounts of medical debt end up filing for bankruptcy.

When looking at medical costs, of course having an emergency fund set up to pay for these unplanned events are always encouraged. But with many people out of work, or employed but making just enough to cover their planned expenses, having an emergency fund is just not an option.

In cases where a person does have insurance, to try and reduce medical costs, people are also encouraged to have a good understanding of what their plan covers and what it does not. Going to in-network providers will also be cheaper. Again though, when there is a medical emergency, the top priority is getting the medical care that is needed. This may mean getting a procedure that is not 100 percent covered or being seen by an out-of-network provider.

Additionally, when medical bills do start to come in, instead of just ignoring the bills and letting them go to collections, those who cannot afford these bills should talk with their provider to see if a payment plan can be set up or if some of these bills can be forgiven.

Of course there will be situations though where the debt is just too large and providers cannot or will not negotiate payments. In some cases, even negotiating payments would not help a person's situation. In these instances, talking with an attorney who has bankruptcy experience, as discharging these debts may be a person's best option.

Source: US News & World Report, "5 Ways to Avoid Medical Debt," Ben Edwards, Feb. 28, 2013

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