The Cost of Cancer Treatment and Bankruptcy
Medical expenses can pile up quickly, especially if you have to lead a lengthy battle against a disease. A cancer diagnosis will turn your life around. It will change your future plans and it will unfortunately have a profound financial effect.
2018 statistics suggest that cancer patients are two times more likely than others to file bankruptcy in the US. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.7 million people will get a cancer diagnosis in 2018. Many of these people will experience financial strain due to treatment costs, insurance coverage policies, missed work or the unexpected costs of traveling to get a treatment.
Researchers have also found out that the Affordable Care Act has had very little impact on this type of medical debt. Thus, patients are left with the option of facing bankruptcy.
If you’re going through a cancer treatment or someone you know has been diagnosed with a malignancy and is struggling with the financial implications, the following guide will help you identify options for getting your life back.
Consulting an Attorney and Exploring the Options
Very often, Arizona bankruptcy lawyers will offer prospective clients a free of charge first consultation. Use this opportunity to understand a bit more about your medical debt and the ways to handle it.
The first step will be to verify the bills and expenses. Your insurance company can also provide assistance in this situation. Examine each bill to make sure medical procedures, treatments and pharmaceutical products are listed accurately.
A meticulous record can end up saving you a lot of money because medical billing mistakes aren’t uncommon.
Next, determine a plan for overcoming the financial situation. For most cancer patients, getting a second job would not be a viable option. Downsizing could also be difficult to carry out while you’re leading a life-saving battle.
Selling valuables may help but often, the money will be sufficient to cover a portion of the expenses. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in the situation of looking for a solution once again.
Click here for more information on the common causes for bankruptcy filings in Arizona.
Bankruptcy: Is It a Good Idea
For many cancer survivors and their families, bankruptcy is one of the best options for dealing with the mounting medical expenses.
Medical expenses are considered unsecured debt. As such, they can be discharged in an Arizona Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to pass the Arizona means test. The test is used to establish your income and the fact that it falls beneath the state’s median.
On top of enabling you to discharge some of your debt, a bankruptcy also puts an automatic stay in place. Once you do the filing, creditors will have to discontinue their collection efforts. You will get some peace of mind and a break from the constant phone calls.
Even if you do have a good insurance, a Chapter 7 filing may be a good choice for you. In some cases, the insurance policy deductible will add up to thousands of dollars. Until the deductible is paid, a family may turn to other sources of funding to cover the medical expenses.
If you do not qualify for the Chapter 7 filing, you may still consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While the debt is not going to be discharged, a more lenient payment plan will be determined in court. The automatic stay will be effective just like in the case of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Getting treatment could make it difficult to think about financial issues but don’t postpone such important decisions. Whether you have medical bills, credit card debt or another type of debt, you should talk to a lawyer. Chances are that something can be done about all of the outstanding sums, enabling you to focus on getting better and taking back control of your life.