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Bryan P. Keenan

Medical costs a common reason for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

When Pittsburghers suffer an illness, condition or injury, their main concern should be getting the proper treatment and getting well. Whether that requires hospitalization, surgery, or ongoing care, finances should not factor in the equation. In practice, however, finances are a constant worry, and with good reason. People who need medical care can accrue massive medical costs. This is when bankruptcy may be a wise decision to get back on stronger financial footing.

A recent study discovered that two-thirds of bankruptcy filings were linked to medical issues. This is connected to both the cost of the medical care itself and the lost wages because of time missed from work. More than a half-million families each year decide bankruptcy is the preferable option to clear their medical costs. There were other reasons people filed for bankruptcy: an inability to pay a mortgage; not staying within their means; assisting others financially; student loans; and marital breakdowns. However, medical bills are by far the biggest problem for debtors.

The Affordable Care Act was meant to prevent people from becoming saddled with debt because of medical costs. However, there has been no change in the percentage of people who file for bankruptcy because of medical expenses. After the ACA was passed, 67.5 percent of people who filed for bankruptcy stated that it was because of medical costs. Before the ACA, that number was 65.5 percent.

Although people want to pay their bills, medical costs are often settled by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is sometimes the only way for people to get in better shape financially. When the bills have reached a point where they cannot be paid no matter what the person does, it is time to discuss the case with a legal professional experienced in Chapter 7 bankruptcy to assess the options, explain the process and move forward.

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Bryan P. Keenan & Associates, P.C.

993 Greentree Road
Suite 101
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Phone: 412-923-4941
Fax: 412-444-0158
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