If your debts are too high but pride prevents you from seeking protection under Chapter 7 bankruptcy then Chapter 13 may be the option for you. Whereas Chapter 7 allows you to start with a clean slate, Chapter 13 is a repayment plan supervised by the court. If you fall within an income category or if you are currently unemployed, the court will also allow you to pay only a portion of the total medical debt. Most people who file Chapter 13 have incomes much higher than what Chapter 7 allows.
The repayment period under Chapter 13 bankruptcy is around 3-5 years. One advantage is you get to keep your non-exempt property, which would have been sold to pay of the creditors under Chapter 7 proceedings. People who file for Chapter 13 have something in common:
They want to pay their medical bills but their current situation does not allow them to do so.
Because of their medical bills, they are behind on mortgage or car loan payments.
You already filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last year or seven years ago. You can only renew application for Chapter 7 after eight years.
There are other requirements to filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy medical bills but a lawyer will be able to explain to you better the constraints and benefits of the proceeding. For example, you can’t file Chapter 13 if your debts are already discharged more than two years ago. Filing bankruptcy medical bills also does not automatically eliminates taxes, alimony, child or spousal support, student loan or criminal and civil liabilities.
It’s important that you consider all your options and reflect on the advantages and disadvantages of filing Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Don’t jump to a decision without first consulting with your family, friends, co-workers and lawyers. Remember, you will end up dealing with the consequences of your actions so no matter how valuable their advises would be, the decision of whether or not you file for bankruptcy ultimately rests with you.
M. Baylor, of Hurst Texas, grew up with both parents as doctors. Laws concerning medical care governed his fascination as he grew up. As a paralegal in Allmand & Lee, Marcus maintains an informative blog about medical bill debt, medical litigation, and the latest in the health care reform bills and government programs.