Many American consumers do not know they owe money

In Maryland and across the United States, a lengthy marriage culminating in divorce may cripple a spouse's financial circumstances. Many women with children were previously living comfortable lives only to find themselves financially struggling as single individuals. Numerous divorced seniors must cope with living on fixed Social Security payments. According to a recent U.S. News & World Report survey, 20% of consumers living in the United States do not know if they have any outstanding debts.

Why younger people are struggling with credit card debt

Generally speaking, younger adults in Maryland and throughout the country were less likely to use credit cards or take on debt. However, new data indicates that 8% of credit card balances among individuals aged 18-29 are 90 days or more past due. Younger individuals are signing up for credit cards in greater numbers because credit card companies are offering perks that they desire. These perks include travel credits and cash bonuses upon signing up for a card.

How medical debt can affect credit scores

Even the most financially responsible person in Maryland can have difficulty keeping up with obligations when faced with mounting medical debt. According to Consumer Reports, 3 out of every 10 Americans has unpaid medical debt of $500 or more. This type of debt can have an adverse effect on credit scores and contribute to other financial difficulties.

Congress to vote on student loan bankruptcy relief

Maryland residents who are struggling to make ends meet due to overwhelming student loan debt currently have few options, but their situations could soon change if a bill introduced recently in both the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate garners enough support to pass. The bicameral bill, which has been named the Student Borrower Bankruptcy Relief Act of 2019, would change the Bankruptcy Code by eliminating the provision that makes student loans non-dischargeable.

Bankruptcy may be easier to handle in time

If a Maryland resident filed for bankruptcy nine years ago, that bankruptcy will generally have little impact on his or her credit score or history. However, if that bankruptcy was filed just a year ago, it could have a significant impact on that person's credit score and history. It is important to note that individuals who file for bankruptcy may not experience negative consequences after doing so.

Debtors are protected by the FDCPA

The actions that debt collectors in Maryland can and cannot take are governed by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, or FDCPA. While debt collectors are allowed to contact individuals about a valid debt, those who are contacted have a right to verify what the debt collector is saying. If a person makes a request to verify a debt balance, verification must be provided in writing. Collection agencies are also generally barred from making contact before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Out-of-network medical bills are worryingly common in Maryland

A recent study conducted by the Health Care Cost Institute reveals that one in five hospital patients in Maryland who received treatment at an in-network medical facility were sent an unexpected bill for out-of-network treatment or services. After analyzing almost 620,000 in-network admissions from hospitals in 37 states and the District of Columbia, only New Jersey, California, Kansas and Florida had a higher frequency of out-of-network charges.

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