• 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

  • FTC Complaints About Debt Collectors Have Increased 73 Percent Since 2008

    This video is another segment from the March 2009 Dateline NBC story on debt collectors that we posted on Wednesday. In that blog post, we also discussed one of the victims of aggressive debt collectors featured in an August 20, 2012, article published in the Los Angeles Times.

    The Times noted in that article that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) receives more complaints about debt collectors than about any other industry. The 180,928 complaints the Times said the FTC received last year was an astonishing 73 percent increase from 2008.

    “We’ve seen a high level of complaints, and I think some of it is collectors realizing in hard times they may have to press that much harder to get someone to pay,” FTC chief debt collection lawyer Tom Pahl told the Times. “And a lot of them are pressing.”

    As the Times noted, federal law prohibits harassment and limits the frequency and hours that debt collectors can call. As we noted on Wednesday, one way to end harassing calls from debt collectors is to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An automatic stay goes into effect when you file bankruptcy, and this requires most debt collectors to cease their collection efforts against you until your bankruptcy has ended.

    Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers can review your case when you complete the form located on this page, or you can set up a free consultation by contacting our firm at (866) 930-7482.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorneys