Many medical procedures cannot be avoided. When Tennessee residents must undergo surgeries or other treatments to save their lives and maintain their health, they may not have money saved to take care of the bills they will later receive. This can cause patients to incur medical debt, a leading cause of financial stress for many Americans.

When a medical debt is incurred, a patient has a certain amount of time to pay it off before that debt will show up on their credit score. Specifically, the three largest credit reporting agencies must now wait about six months before they may put a medical debt on a person’s credit report. Additionally, if a debt is paid off by the individual’s insurance company after it has been placed on their credit report, the credit reporting agencies are required to remove the debt.

This is good news for individuals who win their payment disputes with their insurers, but those who are still struggling to cover the costs of their unexpected medical procedures may not be able to take care of their debts within six months. They may require additional support to work toward becoming free of their medical debts.

Individuals who feel trapped by their medical debts should know that they have options. They may be able to negotiate their debts down to more manageable amounts, or they may be able to qualify for bankruptcy to manage their financial obligations. Whatever their path, debtors can work with attorneys to help them get on the right track to improving their financial standing.