It’s common knowledge in Las Vegas that health care is expensive in the United States. Mostly this is due to large inefficiencies in how the country’s health insurance system functions, and hopefully recent health are legislation addressed that. Consequently, many people who file bankruptcy in Las Vegas tend to have large medical bills. Indeed, it’s often the case that these bills alone send people into bankruptcy, even if they have health insurance. Owing money to your doctor or local hospital can cause anxiety, especially if your doctor is an acquaintance of yours. Here are a few things worth knowing about your medical bills in Las Vegas bankruptcy and obtaining health care afterwards.
(1) You must list any debts you owe to your doctor, dentist, or hospital on your bankruptcy petition. There are no exceptions. You are similarly not allowed to repay your medical bills before filing when you owe debts to others. This is called a preference, and the bankruptcy trustee can “avoid” it, clawing it back to place it in the bankruptcy estate to be distributed to other creditors. Your medical debts are unsecured, so they will discharged in a typical Chapter 7 filing.
(2) After bankruptcy, your doctor will still treat you, but you should expect to pay upfront before receiving any kind of non-emergency treatment.
(3) If you have an emergency, medical professionals cannot deny you treatment for any reason, including ability to pay or past inability to pay. Most hospitals won’t hound you about it.
(4) As always, there is no law preventing you from voluntarily repaying any of your debts after bankruptcy. If you are close to your doctor, you can choose to repay your medical debts to him or her. In this kind of situation, Chapter 13 might be preferable.
(5) Remember, bankruptcy is business, not personal. People don’t file bankruptcy because they’re irresponsible, they do so because they suffered a hardship—such as a medical emergency—and don’t have the income to repay it. Your doctor should understand.
Medical debt is one of the primary drivers of bankruptcy, after excessive, unpayable mortgage debt. If you have either of these problems, consulting with an experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyer is a good idea.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.