As medical costs continue to soar in the U.S., up to 62% of bankruptcies now include significant medical debt. A health event like an accident, disease, or surgery can bury someone in a mountain of medical bills.
Many people are turning to medical bankruptcy, which is a bankruptcy that wipes out all bills related to an expensive health situation. If you’re considering bankruptcy to deal with medical debt, here are some important things you should know.
Discharging Debt with Medical Bankruptcy in Indiana
Here in Indiana, there’s no legal definition of medical bankruptcy. In fact, it’s not even a term that’s defined in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Medical bankruptcy is a smart way of using personal bankruptcy to target medical bills. Generally speaking, you can use either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy to accomplish the goal of erasing medical debt.
Most medical debt is eligible for discharge in bankruptcy because it’s unsecured debt – debt that’s not secured by something tangible like a vehicle or house. The bankruptcy court will work with you and your lawyer to establish the scope of your debts, determine which can be discharged, and essentially force your medical providers to accept a resolution.
What is Indiana’s Doctrine of Necessaries?
A long time ago, Indiana courts adopted caselaw that stood for a spouse being responsible for the necessary expenses of the other. These laws were originally meant to protect a spouse in a weak financial position from being denied the necessities of life by a dominant spouse. The doctrine of necessaries is based on the concept that medical debt arises by necessity, not by choice. Medical treatment is essential to preserving a person’s life and health. Indiana still follows the doctrine of necessaries today.
This means that a spouse can file bankruptcy on medical debts, but in some circumstances a non-filing spouse could still be responsible for these debts.
But make sure you talk to a bankruptcy lawyer first, because there are exceptions that could impact your situation. For example, if you file for bankruptcy and your spouse doesn’t, the medical providers may still go after your spouse for those debts if the doctrine of necessaries applies. Even if 100% of the bills were incurred for your medical care alone, your spouse could still be held legally responsible for paying them in some circumstances.
The Best Way to Free Yourself from Medical Debt
If you have a large load of burdensome medical debt, talk to an Indiana bankruptcy lawyer about using bankruptcy to eliminate your medical bills. Your lawyer can help you address any concerns and prevent mistakes that could interfere with erasing your debt.
At Sawin & Shea, we have decades of experience helping Indiana people clear out medical debt through bankruptcy. Whether you have old bills that just won’t go away or new bills from a recent health crisis, contact us as soon as possible.
Questions About Bankruptcy? We Can Help.
If you still have questions about your medical bankruptcy, please reach out to the team at Sawin & Shea. We offer a free video consultation so it’s easy to clear up your concerns and start the road to financial recovery.
Sawin & Shea — Indianapolis Bankruptcy Attorneys
Filing for bankruptcy is not the end. It’s the beginning of a new financial life for you. The Indiana bankruptcy attorneys at Sawin & Shea can help you get rid of overwhelming debt and advise you on life after bankruptcy. We are here for you during this life-changing process.
Please do not hesitate to call us today at (317) 759-1483 or send an email for a free consultation. We are ready to help.