Hospital Bills and Bankruptcy

A single visit to the hospital can result in a large medical bills that put financial strain on you and your family, making bankruptcy a serious consideration if you have doctor bills or emergency room bills that you cannot afford to repay.  Hospital visits can amount to tens of thousands of dollars a day, depending on the type of medical services, treatment, and monitoring that you receive.   If you have medical insurance, most or all of your medical bills may be paid by your insurance company.  But if you don’t have medical insurance, it is very possible that your hospital bills will be too much for you to afford to repay.  


Fortunately, in most cases bankruptcy will eliminate your hospital and emergency room bills.  When you go to the emergency room or hospital, it is usually out of necessity.  Often you are rushed to the emergency room after a car accident or other emergency situation.  In some cases, you have a planned hospital visit.  Whether you went to the hospital in an ambulance during an emergency or had a planned trip to the hospital, you usually don’t give the hospital a lien against one of your assets to guarantee payment for the medical treatment and services.  Therefore, the medical bills are not a secured debt.  Rather, they are an unsecured debt, meaning that the debt is not secured by a lien against one of your assets.


Because a hospital bill is typically an unsecured debt, you can file bankruptcy on hospital bills and they will be totally eliminated, just like you can eliminate credit card debt when you file for bankruptcy.  In fact, in most cases, hospital and emergency room bills are treated just like credit card debt.  An exception, which is very rare, might be if you incurred the medical services through fraud, in which case the hospital could file an objection to your filing based on fraud.  How could hospital bills be incurred through fraud?


It is difficult to even think of a situation where hospital bills can be incurred through fraud, because most people don’t go to a hospital with an intent to commit fraud.  But if you had planned to go to a hospital have plastic surgery done and never intended to pay the bills, then filed for bankruptcy relief the next day, a hospital's accounting department or attorneys could possibly file an objection to your filing on the ground of fraud.  The fraud would be going to the hospital for a cosmetic surgery procedure knowing that, and with the intent that, you would never pay for the services.  If there was no fraud (fraudulent intent) in the incurring of your hospital bills, then you will be able to file on the bills just like you can file bankruptcy on credit cards.  If you are overwhelmed with hospital bills and need to get out of debt, call us today and speak to a lawyer now.