• Homeowners Over 50 Being Hit Hard by Foreclosure

    Reuters reported on August 21, 2012, that a report from the AARP Public Policy Institute shows roughly 3.5 million homeowners owe more on their mortgages than their properties are worth. One troubling aspect to the report was the finding of the much higher rate of growth in foreclosures for homeowners over the age of 50 between 2007 and 2011. The Associated Press video above from July 2012 noted many of the challenges facing older homeowners.

    According to Reuters, 2.92 percent of mortgage loans to these households had been foreclosed at the end of last year. AARP said this was an astonishing 873 percent increase from 2007. “The study adds to the growing mountain of evidence that the economy has shredded retirement possibilities, especially for low and middle-class households,” Reuters said. “Lower home values are especially devastating for these demographic groups.”

    Reuters noted that another report by the online marketplace for foreclosed properties, RealtyTrac, found that the number of foreclosures rose in 59 percent of the nation’s top metro markets. Illinois accounted for two of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates.

    If you are facing the threat of foreclosure, you should know that filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you delay the process and may be able to help you keep your home. It can also provide you and your family with the fresh start you need to get your finances in order and stop struggling with incessant calls from creditors. Complete the form on this page to let our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case or contact our firm today at (866) 930-7482 to set up a consultation.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys

  • Five Tips to Help Avoid High Medical Bills

    In our post on Monday, we discussed a recent Chicago Tribune article that highlighted how many individuals often become overwhelmed with bills for medical services that they did not really need. Just one day before the Tribune published that article, the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch website published a piece entitled, ‘5 cures for high medical bills.” In the article, experts recommended:

    1. Bargain down the price – “It’s much less time consuming and aggravating if you can make a deal to pay half of it in cash,” Matthew Tassey, principal of Scribner Insurance and former chairman of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education, told MarketWatch. “You need an ally on the inside,” Tassey says. “If you can help that doctor be your advocate, you have a much, much higher success rate at getting the bill reduced.”
    2. Review your bill – Insurance experts told MarketWatch that because the medical billing system has become increasingly automated, billing mistakes are common.
    3. Appeal – MarketWatch noted that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires an external appeals process through an independent review body to allow consumers to appeal their insurance companies’ reimbursement decisions. However, Families USA deputy director of health policy Cheryl Fish-Parcham told MarketWatch, “You definitely need medical evidence to be successful.”
    4. Get help negotiating – The ACA also funded grants that allow many states to offer “so-called consumer assistance programs,” which the Department of Health and Human Services says helped recover more than $18 million in their first year.
    5. Shop around – While MarketWatch reported that experts advise staying in network whenever possible, they also added that when time permits, it is worth asking your doctor how much a procedure will cost and if it would be cheaper to get it elsewhere.

    Are you overwhelmed with medical bills? You may be able to get much needed relief by filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Contact our firm today at (866) 930-7482 or use the form on this page to let our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys