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Chapter 13 or 7 may be appropriate when dealing with medical debt

Medical debt is something with which many Americans struggle. For some individuals in Illinois and elsewhere, the amount of medical debt owed may be so much that they cannot possibly pay it back under their current financial situations. For these individuals, Chapter 13 or 7 bankruptcy options may be appropriate ways to seek relief.

A lot of hospitals and medical providers will try to be understanding when it comes to paying back medical bills. Many offer payment programs, with or without interest or financial aid. However, leniency only lasts so long. It is not uncommon for providers to pursue legal actions in order to collect the money owed them. Some may even sell the debt to debt collectors who may then use legal means to collect.

Those who are facing lawsuits over medical debt may not feel that they have many options. However, this is not true. When facing this type of situation, one can:

  • Verify the debt
  • Seek guidance from legal counsel
  • Negotiate the debt
  • Pursue bankruptcy

Most creditors really do want to avoid court at all costs, so negotiating the debt to a fair amount may be possible. If that does not work, filing for bankruptcy -- either a Chapter 13 or 7 -- will force creditors to stop their attempts to collect until one's bankruptcy claim is settled. Depending on the type of bankruptcy for which Illinois residents file, if approved, medical debt may be discharged completely or an affordable payment schedule that lasts three to five years may be created.

Source:, "Before you respond to a medical debt lawsuit, take these 10 steps", Sept. 29, 2017

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