• With Medical Bills, ‘Patients Who Can Least Afford It Often Get The Highest Bills’

    As a Chicago Tribune story noted on August 29, 2012, a 2005 Harvard study found medical bills are the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States. However, the Tribune also pointed out that about 30 percent of the $2.6 trillion spent each year on health costs does not actually help patients. Steven Weinberger, CEO and executive vice president of the American College of Physicians, told the Tribune that in some cases, it actually hurts them.

    “The lack of transparency about prices within the medical system is staggering,” Weinberger told the Tribune. “There is a cloud of secrecy over the whole system, and the patients who can least afford it often get the highest bills.”

    One person the article cited as an example of this was recent medical school graduate Andrew Levy. He suffered a torn cartilage in his knee before going to medical school, and told the Tribune that his doctor ordered an MRI. Because he had a $3,000 deductible on his health insurance, it would have cost Levy between $700 and $2,500 depending on the facility.

    However, he learned that he really did not need the test after all. “This was nuts to pay $700 out of my pocket for a test I didn’t need,” Levy told the Tribune. “And I keep this in mind, that this is what my patients are going through.”

    Medical bills are indeed a common reason for many individuals to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy , and we will offer some other options in our next post that can help your family deal with high medical bills. If you need help now, use the form located on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case or contact our firm today at (866) 930-7482 to schedule a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

  • 30 Million Americans Dealing with Debt Collection Industry

    This video is from a March 2009 Dateline NBC segment on the dirty tactics used by debt collection agencies in the United States. While the segment is more than three years old, little has changed in that time. If anything, the problem has only grown worse.

    On August 20, 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that debt collection has become a $12 billion a year industry with an estimated 30 million Americans dealing with debt collectors this year. According to the Times, that is a nearly 50 percent increase since 2003.

    One person the Times article featured was Piqua, Ohio, resident Katie Brown. She told the Times that she received a call about her unpaid $3,000 credit card bill from Hhgregg Inc. The person claimed that he was from a free legal aid service that Brown had contacted to try to end harassing phone calls from debt collectors.

    “After I told him everything, he laughed and said, ‘Now let me tell you who I am. I hold your debt from Hhgregg,'” Brown told the Times. “I was scared they would get to my husband’s work and start calling them, because at this point they would stop at nothing if they were going to misrepresent themselves.”

    As the Times article noted, more people have increasingly fallen behind on their bills for credit card debt, student loans and other expenses in the Great Recession. If you are also facing harassing calls from debt collectors, the good news is that filing Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will trigger an automatic stay that requires most debt collectors to stop all collection efforts against you until the bankruptcy is over.

    If you would like to learn more about filing bankruptcy and receiving an automatic stay, you can use the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case or you can contact our firm at (866) 930-7482 to schedule a free consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers