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Photo of attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt
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Medical Issues Can Lead to Bankruptcy

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2013 | Medical Bills and Bankruptcy

A recent study performed by researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle revealed that cancer patients were twice as likely to file for bankruptcy as individuals without cancer. The report linked bankruptcy court records and information from the regional cancer registry on about 200,000 cancer patients, and compared them with a similar group of people from the same area who did not have cancer. Young people with cancer experienced the highest bankruptcy rates, the study found, up to 10 times the rate of bankruptcy filings among older age groups. All major medical problems lead to costly bills, even if you have insurance. According to a report released by the Center for Studying Health System Change in December 2011, one in five American families was having trouble paying off their medical debt in 2010.  As a result, many of these families were considering filing for bankruptcy protection. In a Chapter 7, the majority, and usually all of your debt (including medical bills) is discharged or eliminated.  For somebody who has stayed in the hospital for any length of time or otherwise incurred a massive amount of medical debt, discharging thousands of dollars can be a huge relief. For information on qualifying to file a Chapter 7, please read our blog titled “What is the Chapter 7 Means Test?” In a Chapter 13 filing, medical bills are treated the same as other unsecured debts.  This means that the debtor pays a percentage of what is owed, which is usually a very small amount, if anything. Again, this can save you a significant amount of  money. If you are drowning in medical debt, contact Levitt & Slafkes, P.C. to learn what options are available to you. If you are interested in learning how filing a bankruptcy case can benefit you, contact Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., at 973-323-2953. You can also reach us by filling out our online form. We represent debtors in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 filings. Let us help you get the fresh financial start you need today.