MEDICAL DEBT IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Medical debt is becoming a nationwide problem. Almost everyone at some time or another has incurred a significant medical bill. In fact, Harvard University did a study where they concluded that over 50% of Americans who file for bankruptcy have significant medical debts. Fortunately, bankruptcy can wipe out or “discharge” all medical bills. Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a valuable tool for debtors to have their medical debts forgiven. For many of my clients, they have incurred significant medical bills even with good medical insurance. This is proof that even when you are prepared, an unexpected emergencies can affect anyone. Here in South Carolina medical bills are becoming an increasingly larger problem due to COVID and lack of rights consumers have in negotiating lower payments.
In addition, in recent years, I have seen medical providers and collection agencies become increasingly aggressive in collecting medical debts. In South Carolina that includes the GEAR PROGRAM that allows certain medical providers to seize your South Carolina tax for unpaid medical bills. They do not even have to sue you first! The GEAR PROGRAM even allows medical providers to garnish wages in South Carolina even though there is no wage garnishment for consumer debts in our state. I have personally seen over the years how medical debt can bring financial and emotional stress to my clients and is often the leading cause for my clients to seek bankruptcy help. Sometimes after the initial consult with my new client, I am able to find non-bankruptcy alternatives. Other times, the medical bills combined with other debts such as credit card debt is too great and a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is required. The good news is if you have to file for bankruptcy relief, medical debt is usually discharged or a Chapter 13 Plan allows for it to be paid at a few cents on the dollar.
If you have medical debt and do not know where to turn for help, please feel free to call attorney Daniel Stone for a free bankruptcy consultation at either the Greenville, Columbia, Irmo or Florence offices. We offer free consultations on how bankruptcy and the law can help you with your medical debt.