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Even if medical billing errors are fixed, bankruptcy may be best

Any New Jersey resident who has been to the doctor lately is painfully aware of the fact that the cost of health care is on the rise. To make matters worse, it is estimated that nearly 49 percent of medical bills sent to patients contain errors. Even if these errors are corrected, patients could still owe a substantial amount to doctors, hospitals and other medical providers, which still makes bankruptcy a viable option for many people to use to eliminate this type of debt.

Medical bills often contain charges for services that were not performed and tests that were not done. Moreover, some charges are duplications and should not be on the bill either. New Jersey patients can dispute the charges, but a resolution may not come for months. During that time, the disputed balance could end up on a person's credit report showing as past due.

Statistics show that one out of every five individuals' credit reports has medical debt listed. The average amount reported to the top three credit agencies is $579. Undoubtedly, some of this debt that is reported as being past due is actually in dispute and should not be there at all.

Regardless of whether there are errors on an individual's medical bills, the amounts can still be staggering and quickly become a heavy financial burden. Even medical insurance is often unable to stem the flow of charges for which a patient is deemed responsible. Filing for bankruptcy could provide a solution to the problem of overwhelming medical debt. If it is discharged, the petitioner can breathe easier and look to his or her financial future without fear.

Source: Time, "Medical Billing Errors: How to Identify and Dispute Errors on Medical Bills", Katherine Hobson, April 21, 2015

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