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New Jersey bankruptcy: What happens when insurance won't pay?

Many New Jersey residents would agree that health insurance is supposed to take care of most, if not all, of the insured's medical expenses. Even so, there are some instances where the patient's portion is still more than a person can afford. Even worse, there are times when an insurance company refuses to pay a claim for one reason or another. At that point, patients may need to look for debt relief options ranging from payment plans to bankruptcy.

For example, a woman was injured and required emergency surgery. A specialist was brought in to perform the surgery. The surgeon's bill came to $46,000. When the claim was submitted to the insurance company, they only paid $2,000 of the claim. According to the insurance company, the surgeon was "not in network," so that was the maximum amount of his bill they would cover.

This leaves the patient with $44,000 worth of medical bills that she was not anticipating having to pay. The surgeon's office is not surprised that the insurance company did not pay the majority of his bill. Nevertheless, that does not mean that the surgeon does not expect the patient to pay the remaining balance.

Many doctors are not willing to wait several months to be paid. At some point, medical professionals will expect the patient to pay the bill, regardless of any battles with a health insurance provider. At that point, the patient may begin to consider other alternatives to take care of the balance. Payment plans, credit cards and personal loans are options, but may still not be enough for some New Jersey patients. In that case, bankruptcy could be a responsible option to take care of unmanageable medical bills once and for all.

Source:, Woman gets stuck with most of medical bill after accident, Mark Becker, Oct. 22, 2013

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