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Lisle Bankruptcy Law Blog

What is the "Fair Patient Billing Act" in Illinois?

While there is sometimes talk of a time when healthcare was much simpler, medical terms in medical bills can seem arcane or even to sophisticated and educated patients. However, one law attempts to reduce the impact of these complex systems of medical billing.

This is the Fair Patient Billing Act (FPBA), which purports to place some restrictions on how hospitals can present their charges to patients, and attempts to protect those patients. The FPBA applies to any hospital that is licensed to serve patients for a fee.

Understanding one's legal rights important in Chapter 13

Not being able to pay one's bills can be very stressful. Not only is the person likely subject to late fees and other charges, but he or she also may have to contend with collections calls, letters, email, and texts. Further, whether legal or not, not being able to meet financial obligations can affect an Illinois resident's employment prospects. Sometimes, getting a job is harder, especially in certain fields that may consider large amounts of debt a temptation for theft or embezzlement.

Those who have large amounts of unsecured may wonder whether bankruptcy is a viable alternative to their situations. However, they may not know whether they are putting certain valuable assets at risk by doing so. Those regular readers of this blog may remember that there are a couple of bankruptcy options that may provide different protections, and which is right for any given consumer may vary, depending on the individual details of the situation.

Rise in credit scores may be good news for those in Illinois

As the country continues to heal from the "Great Recession," some residents of Illinois may have found that their credit scores have since gone up. In fact, as of spring credit scores have reached an all-time high since 2005, and at the same time, the number of "risky" borrowers has reached an all-time low since 2005. The higher a person's credit score is, the more appealing they are to lenders, and if they are approved for a loan or credit card, it may be at a lower interest rate.

For example, as time marches on, consumers who had their homes foreclosed upon or who filed for bankruptcy during the Great Recession are finding that these actions are being taken off of their credit reports. Moreover, according to a Barclays PLC report, over six million people in the United States who filed for personal bankruptcy will have that filing removed from their credit report over the next five years. Mortgage foreclosures will remain on a person's credit report for as many as seven years. A consumer bankruptcy filing will remain on a person's credit report for seven to 10 years.

Credit card debt may be dischargeable through Illinois Chapter 7

Credit cards are a basic fact of modern American life. Many families use them for unexpected expenses such as car or house repairs, or to cover medical bills that insurance won't pay. Whatever they are used for, there may come a time when the debt becomes impossible for the person acquiring it to pay. A loss of income or rising interest rates could create a situation where it is simply untenable for the debtor to ever pay off the accrued amount.

When this occurs, the stressful times for the debtor may only be beginning. Attempting to come up with the money to pay each month may have been worrisome. But, knowing that one cannot pay, and that their credit rating will take a hit is even worse. Throw in the beginning of phone calls and letters, from either the card company or a collection agency that has purchased the debt and a debtor may begin to feel hopeless about the entire situation.

Negotiating medical debt may reduce what is owed

Whether it is due to a serious disease such as cancer, or even a welcomed condition such as pregnancy, it is the unfortunate fact that many people in Lisle will find themselves facing medical debt that they simply cannot pay back. And once that debt goes to collections, many debtors may fear further consequences, such as losing their home or having other property repossessed due to unpaid medical debt.

Unlike normal expenses in which one knows what they owe prior to purchase, when it comes to medical expenses, people receive the medical care and then later on find out how much they owe. However, what they may not know is that the amount they owe on medical debt need not be fixed.

Debtors have rights and options when it comes to credit card debt

Many people in Lisle have had to depend on a credit card for one reason or another. Perhaps they had an unexpected car repair, a medical bill or maybe they've experienced a decline in income or even a job loss, meaning they had to pay for their everyday expenses with a credit card. Whatever the cause, what most can attest to, is that credit card debt can be burdensome or even overwhelming. However, people who are facing credit card debt still have rights and options under the law.

For example, one option that may help debtors pay down credit card debt is to transfer the debt from one financial institution to a different financial institution. Oftentimes this is done to lower the interest rate on the debt. Also, creditors usually must let the debtor know in writing in advance if they are going to change the debtor's interest rate. Moreover, except for zero percent temporary interest rates or when a debtor is 60 or more days behind on the amount due, a new interest rate cannot be made retroactive.

Children's mental health care can create Illinois medical debt

This space has previously discussed the fact that one of the biggest contributors to residents' financial difficulties is medical debt. While this burden has been eased some by recent changes in federal law, the problem has not gone away, and future changes may create an even bigger problem. Even with medical insurance, many Illinois families face high health care costs, especially when it comes to the cost of keeping children healthy.

One of the largest costs in healthcare is the cost of mental health. While current law requires certain levels of coverage, there still seems to be many services that do not get covered by insurance policies. In fact, it is estimated that 54.5 percent of Illinois residents who have a mental illness do not get treatment, and much of this likely has to do with the cost of said treatment. Many who cannot pay for it end up in hospitals or jails, which can cause further costs to society and the individual.

U.S. Supreme Court issues ruling on expired debts and bankruptcy

Illinois residents may be interested to hear that the United States Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that gave debt collectors permission to seek repayment of debts from those going through the bankruptcy process, even if those debts had since expired. The Court found that creditors are under no duty to notify debtors that the debtors need not make payments on expired debts.

Expired debts are debts that cannot be enforced due to the passing of the applicable statute of limitations. Even though courts, for the most part, cannot order that expired debts be paid, most states in the nation still permit creditors to attempt to collect on the expired debt. However, this particular case centered on whether this can be allowed if the debtor is going through the bankruptcy process, despite the fact that through personal bankruptcy, the statute of limitations allows the expired debt to be dismissed.

We can help restart your financial life

Nowadays, Illinois residents, like the rest of the country, have begun to rely on plastic rather than paper-credit cards rather than cash. Though it feels exhilarating to swipe a credit card through a machine and worry about the bill at a later time, as mentioned previously on this space, credit card debt has a way of catching up with you. And once it does, the late penalty fees and interest charges can spiral out of control. This might lead to wage or non wage garnishment techniques that can further impact a person's spending capacity.

As things spiral out of control, it may be easy for a debtor to lose hope and begin skipping payments. However, there is another option that may provide much needed financial relief from credit card debt-filing for bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 advantages and disadvantages in Illinois

Being behind on one's bills is nearly a national pastime in the United States these days. With the rise in costs of living generally outstripping real wage rates, many Illinois residents, as with people throughout the country, find themselves in a position where they cannot make all their payments every month. Having to pick and choose whom to pay and what one goes without can be stressful, and impact not only one's mood, but one's physical health as well. When this begins to happen, people may want to begin considering whether filing for bankruptcy is a logical choice.

Simply deciding to file for bankruptcy protection is not the only choice to be made, however. One of the other decisions is what kind of bankruptcy is best for the individual's situation. As readers of this blog may remember, there are two major forms of bankruptcy available to most individuals. These are 'Chapter 7' and 'Chapter 13.' While chapter 7 will discharge most debts, it may also result in the loss of certain property. Chapter 13, on the other hand, will require repayment of some debt, but may serve to help protect things important to the filer.

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