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Chapter 7 is one way to deal with medical debt

It is believed that one in four Americans cannot pay or struggles to pay their medical debts. One in four -- that is a lot of people. Illinois residents who find themselves in such situations may turn to Chapter 7 bankruptcy for some relief.

Before taking the leap, though, and submitting a bankruptcy petition, there are some things that one can try in order to reduce medical debt. First, one can carefully review all bills, looking for duplicate, false or unnecessary charges. Second, one can try to negotiate the amount owed. Believe it or not, some providers are willing to drop certain charges, but they won't do so unless asked.

If doing these two things fails to produce any desirable results, it may be possible to apply for financial assistance. There are income restrictions needed to qualify, but doing this can offer some relief if granted. Finally, one can try to negotiate an affordable payment plan. Many medical providers are willing to allow patients to make payments over a period of time rather than paying the whole bill upfront. Again, one simply has to ask.

If none of these options work, this is where legal debt relief options come into play. While bankruptcy is generally a last resort option, sometimes, it is the best choice for Illinois residents. Medical debt is eligible for Chapter 7 discharge, meaning one will be released from the debt obligation if his or her bankruptcy petition receives approval. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can review one's specific situation and, if it is deemed appropriate, help one file and fight to achieve economic relief through the bankruptcy process.

Source:, "9 ways you can lower your medical bills", Jeanie Ahn, Nov. 28, 2017

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