If you count yourself among those facing mounting medical debt in Massachusetts, know that you are not alone. Research shows that unpaid medical bills have become the leading cause of bankruptcy filings across the United States. Furthermore, unpaid medical debt may cause your credit to take a hit and debt collectors to contact you at home or at work.
Per Fox Business, a fifth of all Americans currently has at least one medical bill making its way through collections. Also, more than half of those who file for bankruptcy cite medical debt as one of their main reasons for doing so. If your medical bills have spiraled beyond your control, you may want to consider taking one or more of the following steps.
Negotiating with your creditors
Depending on circumstances, you may be able to negotiate with your creditors to lower the amount you owe. If you plan to try this, make sure you understand your outstanding medical bills and that you actually had all the services the hospital or doctor said you did. Make sure, too, that the rates the provider charged you were reasonable and in line with those charged by other providers.
Then, ask the provider’s billing office if they might give you a discount for making a large payment upfront. You may also want to see if you qualify for financial aid under the Affordable Care Act.
Filing for bankruptcy
If negotiating with your creditors does not produce the results you want, you may need to think about filing for bankruptcy. Sometimes, it may be the most realistic way to get back on your feet and get a fresh financial start.
If you do decide to file for bankruptcy, you may need to do so through either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 filing.