By Rudy Serra
Q: I AM EXPECTING SOME LARGE MEDICAL EXPENSES and I think I might have to go to bankruptcy as a result. Do you have any suggestions?
Answer: Even with insurance coverage, a serious medical issue can lead to poverty. Limitations on benefits, co-pays, and out of pocket deductibles can leave a consumer with insurmountable debt.
ObamaCare saved lives and prevented people I know from having to go bankrupt. The elimination, limitation or reduction of health coverage will result in an increase of such bankruptcies. Medical expenses are not the only reason for bankruptcy. Many consumers fear major losses in divorce, tax debts and other causes.
First, do not wait until the big expenses are actually levied. It is greatly to your advantage to take certain actions before you are faced with bankruptcy. Before the court will allow you to file, you will be required to obtain a certificate from a financial planning organization such as “Greenpath Credit Solutions” so why wait?
Many credit counseling organizations are non-profit. They work with you to avoid bankruptcy. Sometimes this even includes contacting your creditors and working out a better deal or you. Greenpath is not the only credit counseling agency approved by the bankruptcy court. Any of them will analyze your finances and work with you in advance to avoid bankruptcy. Since you are required to take this step anyway. it can be used as an effective way to avoid an even worse situation.
If you can’t avoid bankruptcy, you will want to hire a bankruptcy attorney. Almost everything in bankruptcy court is filed electronically and not just any lawyer can file with the court. You must be a member of a specialized Federal Bankruptcy Bar Association in order to have access. A credit counseling agency can guide you to find a list of such lawyers.
If you have no medical insurance and do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, don’t forget the FernCare Free Clinic. The clinic cannot change medical costs you have already incurred. and can’t help with other sources of financial stress, but can provide free medical services to qualified patients. There are no residency requirements, co-pays or deductibles. Information is available on-line at FernCare.org.