Many Connecticut residents are struggling with high levels of medical debt. It may seem nearly impossible to pay off expensive health care bills. In fact, around 30% of all Americans have over $500 in unpaid medical debt. Medical debt, like other kinds of debt, can have an effect on one's credit score. This means that unpaid medical bills can also lead to challenges when buying car insurance, renting an apartment or seeking a loan.
Many different types of debts can be discharged in a bankruptcy. However, student loan borrowers in Connecticut may not be able to get their debts cancelled through this process. That is because lawmakers in previous decades felt that students would try to get out of paying their loans by discharging them after graduation. To get a student loan erased in bankruptcy, a borrower needs to show that he or she cannot keep paying because of an undue hardship.
Many Connecticut consumers know that a bankruptcy stays on a filer's credit report for a long period of time. This is one reason why even people with overwhelming debt continue to resist filing. They are concerned that they will never be able to access credit again and that their credit reports will lead to disaster. Of course, one of the problems is that most people who file for bankruptcy already have significantly damaged credit. They may show very high utilization of existing credit lines, late payments, unpaid bills, or even judgments.
Many people living in Connecticut rely to some degree on credit. Of course, this is isn't unusual as Americans typically maintain a high level of credit card debt. As of February 2019, the amount of revolving credit debt in the United States was $35.4 billion, according to the Federal Reserve. Overall, the increase in consumer credit overall was less than expected.
Even when Connecticut patients seek care at an in-network hospital, they may be faced with surprise out-of-network medical expenses. In fact, roughly 1 in 7 patients are surprised by medical bills, according to data on medical billing processes and practices. An analysis of more than 600,000 in-network inpatient admissions found that instances of at least one out-of-network claim ranged from nearly 2 percent of all admissions in Minnesota to nearly 27 percent in Florida.
Some Connecticut residents may have questions about how chapter 13 bankruptcy works. Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy, so it may be the right solution when an individual has a good income but is not able to pay off their creditors immediately. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will last for a period three or five years, giving an individual the opportunity to pay their debts off over an extended time.
Most consumers in Connecticut and around the country who owe money to credit card companies carry the debt for more than a year according to a poll conducted by CreditCards.com. Almost a quarter of the consumers who participated said that they had carried such debt for at least three years, and 14 percent said that credit card companies had been charging them interest for five years or longer. The study also reveals how income influences the way consumers handle credit card debt.
About two-thirds of the people who file personal bankruptcies in Connecticut and around the country each year do so to avoid crushing medical bills, according to a recent study published in American Journal of Public Health. A team of researchers that included a doctor from the Hunter College of City University of New York, two lawyers and a Consumer Bankruptcy Project sociologist came to this conclusion after studying 910 Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions filed between 2013 and 2016.
Life-altering accidents and infirmities are not conversations that Connecticut residents like to discuss. Unless they are faced with a terminal illness or unless they lose someone close to them, most people would prefer to focus their mind on things like their plans for today or the future. This is why many procrastinate or completely put off creating a living will or a health care directive.
Prior to 1976, Connecticut residents could potentially have their student loans discharged through bankruptcy. In 1976, the law was amended to include student loans that had been in repayment for at least five years. That was later extended to seven years before Congress moved to exclude student loans from most bankruptcy cases. Today, an individual can only have such debt wiped away in bankruptcy if making payments constitutes a hardship.