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Medical bills remain major cause of bankruptcy filings

Despite federal reforms over the last few years, health care costs continue to be a major concern for many across Tennessee. The fact is, medical bills are a major cause of bankruptcy for Americans. According to some reports, just about two-thirds of all bankruptcy filings were related to medical bills in 2007. Surprisingly, nearly three-quarters of those same filers had some form of health insurance at the time.

So, what are some of the options Tennessee consumers might consider if they find their finances spiraling out of control under the weight of their medical expenses?

First and foremost, it is important for consumers to remain vigilant. Insurance companies are very fastidious when it comes to enforcing consumer debt; unfortunately, they are not quite as thorough when it comes to reviewing consumer statements for inaccuracies.

It can be helpful to carefully review charges on medical bills carefully before paying. Billing errors are not uncommon, and often they can be correction. Among the billing errors to look for are overcharges, duplicate charges and treatment for care that was not received.

It is also important to speak with the hospital or insurance company immediately as soon as the consumer knows that they are unable to pay. Sometimes it is possible to work out a payment plan or work out a reduced rate to avoid falling behind. This will also help consumers avoid having their debt turned over to a collection agency, which is what ends up hurting a person's credit score.

Even earnest efforts to pay off medical can come up short for Chattanooga residents. One unexpected, major medical expense can put an otherwise financially secure person in a serious bind. There is no reason to suffer unwittingly. There may be help, through personal bankruptcy or other forms of debt relief, and the situation may be far less dire than it appears. The key is to reach out.

Source: The Huffington Post, "What Happens When You Can't Pay Your Medical Bills," Jason Alderman, July 27, 2012

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

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