Medical Debt Expected to Rise During COVID-19 Crisis

In 2019, researchers from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project published an article in the American Journal of Public Health, revealing that they determined that medical expenses were a key factor in 66.5% of all bankruptcies. 

The team, extrapolating from their results, estimated that around 530,000 families file for bankruptcy because of illness and medical debt each year. That number is likely to increase given the growing number of Americans that have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Medical Debt Expected For Patients Hospitalization With COVID-19 

The White House has stated that any hospitals that benefit from the stimulus bill will be unable to issue “surprise” bills to patients treated for COVID-19. But what does this actually mean? 

Basically, hospitals will be required to charge a patient only for what they would have been normally charged for an in-network hospitalization. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be billed for their treatment. The total amount they can expect to pay depends upon the terms and conditions of their insurance plan.

Although health insurance companies are also taking action to help those who are insured, not all changes are equal from company to company. For example, some patients will now have their copays and coinsurance waived when treated for the virus, however, they will still be expected to pay the deductible, which can be thousands of dollars. Additionally, some changes only apply to patients who need to be tested or who are diagnosed with COVID-19 after a specific date. 

These changes also only reflect medical bills for those treated for COVID-19. For any other medical condition, such as a heart attack, the regular insurance fees will apply. 

The reality is that thousands of Americans could be facing severe medical debt during a time that is either the worst employment crisis in American history or the second worst, only beaten by the Great Depression. This debt, combined with the loss of income that millions are facing, will likely force many Americans to claim bankruptcy. 

Filing For Bankruptcy In California: What You Need To Know 

Realizing that you are likely in a financial position that will result in the need to file for bankruptcy is scary and extremely stressful. But you don’t have to go through this process alone. An experienced attorney can:

  1. Help you determine whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy fits your needs best; 
  2. Complete the necessary paperwork including schedules, financial data, and the forms required by the court; 
  3. Prepare you for what is to come during the process;
  4. Deal with any creditors who violate an automatic stay;
  5. Negotiate with creditors. 

Although you do have the right to file pro se, which means you are representing yourself, data from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court - Central District Of California shows that those who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy pro se are successful only 50% of the time and typically have their case dismissed because they failed to file the necessary paperwork. Those filing for Chapter 13 on their own are only successful in 2% of cases.  

If you have questions bankruptcy, call the Law Office of Joseph Camenzind, IV.  You can be sure that you and your loved ones will be treated with respect and care during this difficult time. Contact the legal team at (408) 882-9758 for a consultation.


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