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Medical emergencies are extremely hard to prepare for. When an injury or illness can appear instantly, victims have very little time to build a savings to pay for the debt. When tens of thousands of dollars of medical debt become a significant obstacle for someone, what can they do to recover?

Health care is extremely expensive. Every year, the United States spends 3.5 trillion dollars on medical expenses. Staying in a hospital can cost more than $5000 per day. Medical debt can keep a family from getting ahead on other debt and deny the chance to improve their lives, but bankruptcy may be the answer to beating it.

What bankruptcy can do

Personal bankruptcy comes in two primary forms: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While both options discharge unsecured debt like medical debt or credit card debt, each of these options impacts medical debt differently. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows an applicant to restructure the debt payments into a payment plan lasting between three and five years. After this period, the court will discharge any remaining debt.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges medical debt without any payment plan. The trade-off to this option is that the applicant must sell non-essential assets like retirement accounts, secondary homes, and collectibles, and jewelry. After the funds from this sale go to the debt, the court will discharge the remaining debt.

Do not overlook bankruptcy as an option

Bankruptcy is a tool that hundreds of thousands of people use every year to free themselves from crippling debt. If you need to take advantage of this tool to protect your future, consult with a bankruptcy attorney to determine what bankruptcy can do for you.