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Seeking assistance paying off medical debt

Texas patients who can't afford to pay their medical bills may be able to find help doing so. Across the United States, hospitals offered $38 billion in what is referred to as charity care. Sutter Health offers families of four without insurance who make up to $100,400 the ability to have their bills waived entirely. Those who have insurance can still ask to have their payment obligations waived.

If a government gives financial assistance to a hospital, it could be required to offer this type of assistance. In fact, most hospitals will offer it, but they may not be forthcoming about doing so. Patients are advised to ask for help as soon as possible as the odds of receiving assistance can go down after a bill is sent to collections. If a debt has been paid, it is important for individuals to keep proof of that fact.

Taking this step could be important if a debt collector calls and claims that past medical expenses weren't paid. This is true even if a group such as RIP Medical Debt has paid that debt on a person's behalf. The group buys unpaid medical debt in bulk and forgives the balance. Individuals are notified by receiving a yellow envelope in the mail.

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may give an individual the opportunity to reorganize medical or other types of debt. Doing so can make it possible to start paying down balances or have them forgiven after a three or five year repayment period. An attorney may be able to explain how to file or who is eligible to do so. By filing for bankruptcy, it could put a stop to a foreclosure, repossession or a creditor lawsuit against a debtor.

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