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Medical Bills and the Reality of Bankruptcy

The prospect of filing for bankruptcy protection is never appealing. But that does not mean that it is never the right choice. Much of the negative view of personal bankruptcy is wrapped up in social mores and pretenses, spurred along by a healthy dose of misinformation and misunderstanding about the law and the legal and financial implications of filing for bankruptcy. Though it would, of course, be preferable to you and your creditors if you were able to satisfy the terms of your repayment agreement, the economic pressures of life can prevent that, even if you have the best of intentions.Certainly, an individual has a degree of financial responsibility and culpability in the matter. Willfully and knowingly making purchases with the intent to defraud creditors is inexcusable and may be punishable by criminal and civil actions. Additionally, it is advisable to maintain an open dialogue with your creditors so that you can attempt to keep them informed about your ability or inability to make specific payments. When this becomes impossible, however, bankruptcy may offer the most beneficial path to resolution as it grants your creditors partial satisfaction of a debt and it frees you from lingering financial obligations. Medical bills are by far the most common debt to trigger a personal bankruptcy filing.Costs and ConsequencesThe news media and political agents in the United States devote significant attention and discussion to the high cost of healthcare in this country, and as anyone who has had to shoulder medical bills without health insurance can attest there is plenty to talk about. The complex scheme that presently exists, under which insurance companies and medical professionals both have an incentive to overcharge patients and to perform unnecessary tests and procedures has turned even the simplest visits into thousand dollar nightmares.If you find yourself in need of more substantial medical treatment or care, then it is not out of the question for your medical debt to surpass your student loan or mortgage debt in terms of total value. There is no way that the average person can afford to pay for such expensive care out of pocket, but there is little in the way of forgiveness emanating from most healthcare service providers. A sample of the average 2005 cost of several common procedures can illustrate this quite clearly:
Tonsillectomy — $12,355
Cardiac Stress Tests — $15,691
Circumcision — $5,057
Fracture or Dislocation of Hip or Femur — $35,545
Amputation of Lower Extremity — $52,306
Knowing Your OptionsWhen you are faced with a seemingly insurmountable medical debt, it is easy to panic. But the longer you take to choose your next step, the direr the situation will become. Knowing your options is valuable, and the Arizona bankruptcy lawyers of the Harmon Law Office, L.L.C., can help to ensure that you are fully aware.