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Millennials struggle with medical debt

Are you ignoring that strange pain? Have you opted to suffer with your symptoms rather than refill a prescription? Are you postponing a medical screening or checkup? If any of these risky decisions is the result of your financial struggles, you are not alone. If you are between the ages of 27 and 45, you may be among millions in your age bracket who have outstanding medical bills.

Medical bills are reportedly the most frequent expenses to go to collections. However, it is not uncommon for those with medical debt to also have other overdue bills, such as credit cards and mortgages. In fact, you may have no choice but to pay for a doctor visit with a credit card or risk letting your car payment go to collections to cover the medical expense. This places you and many of your generation in financial crisis mode.

Do I need to file bankruptcy? Can't I just consolidate my debts?

When you find yourself in a financial pickle, you tend to look at all the debt relief options that are floating around out there. With a quick Google search, you'll find a number of companies in California that offer debt consolidation or debt settlement services. You may even read a bit about bankruptcy. What is the best option for you?

You, like most people, may view bankruptcy as the worst thing that you could do, so you put it out of your mind. You focus on debt consolidation, thinking if you could just lower your monthly payments, you'll be just fine. Here is the truth about your debt relief options.

I filed for bankruptcy once, can I do it again?

You, like many other California residents, found yourself in significant debt thanks to job loss, medical bills or a number of other reasons. You filed for bankruptcy, hoping it would be the answer to your fiscal problems. You received approval, but you are still struggling with debt. Now what?

Bankruptcy, in any of its forms, may offer some debt relief right off the bat. You may even feel like you are doing alright a few years down the line. Unfortunately, life likes to throw curve balls, and despite your previous bankruptcy filing, you find yourself dealing with monetary issues again. Did you know you may be able to file for bankruptcy again?

Should you wait until after the divorce to file bankruptcy?

Financial troubles and divorce go hand-in-hand for many California couples. In fact, disagreements about money still rank high on the list of why people decide to end their marriages. Often, the divorce only rectifies some of those issues and may even create others. For this reason, you may be among many people who realize filing for bankruptcy may provide a better chance at financial stability in the aftermath of the divorce.

However, should you file for bankruptcy first or file for divorce first? You probably won't get a simple answer to that question since numerous factors go into making that choice. It depends on your situation.

Is your credit card debt drowning you?

Perhaps you have had a credit card in your wallet since you were a senior in high school. Maybe you took one with you to college just for emergencies and were amazed at the ease with which you could make purchases — paying for pizza, treating friends to beer or getting new clothes for your first internship.

Now that you are responsible for larger expenses and perhaps a family, you understand how reckless you were to charge your whims without a thought about how to pay for them. Your credit cards have come in handy over the years for unexpected expenses, such as car repairs or medical costs. They have also helped your family enjoy much-needed vacation time. However, you are seeing signs that your credit card debt is out of hand.

Are you experiencing harassment from debt collectors?

California readers know there are many negative consequences to owing a significant amount of debt. One of these downfalls is the constant contact from creditors and debt collectors who are trying to collect on owed payments. They can call you, send you mail and make other efforts to communicate with you. However, this only adds to the stress of your overwhelming financial situation. 

If you are dealing with constant contact with creditors, it is possible you are experiencing creditor harassment. While debt collectors do have the right to attempt to collect money, there are limits to what they can do. As a consumer dealing with debt, it may be beneficial for you to learn more about your rights.

Should you offer the IRS a compromise?

Living in a California county where housing costs and other living expenses are high can be challenging at times. For instance, if you're used to living on two full incomes, then you or your spouse loses a job, your entire financial foundation may suddenly be on shaky ground. Even if you're both still employed, an unexpected matter, such as urgently needed medical care or a family crisis, can throw your finances out of whack so that you have trouble paying what you owe the Internal Revenue Service for taxes. 

The IRS won't forget that you owe payment on a tax debt. If you can't find a way to pay your taxes in full, you might want to consider an offer in compromise. While the IRS is often hesitant to accept such an agreement, there are times when it may be the most viable solution. An OIC allows you to pay back less than what you owe. Support is available to help you determine if an OIC might be a better option that filing for bankruptcy. 

Do I qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Many California residents have, over the years, found themselves in tough financial positions. Living in this state is expensive. Job loss, emergencies, health scares and a number of other things can arise that make paying one's bills impossible. If you've found yourself in a difficult financial bind, there may be debt relief options available to you -- such as bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is just one type of personal bankruptcy that may be available to individuals or couples who cannot meet their debt obligations. There are certain requirements that one must meet, though, in order to receive court approval on this type of bankruptcy.

Have you received a legal complaint regarding creditor claims?

You, like most California residents and individuals across the country, likely have some form of debt. While your outstanding balances may have once been easily managed, you may have found yourself struggling to keep up with payments due to unexpected life events or other issues. Now, your debt has become so overwhelming that you feel uncertain whether you will ever have the ability to pay it back.

While you certainly remain aware of your financial situation and want to take action to address it, you may not take steps in time to avoid a lawsuit from a creditor. Though creditors cannot threaten to put you in jail for outstanding debt, they can take legal action against you by suing you for owed funds. If a creditor has brought a claim against you, you may wonder how to handle the situation.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy: is it the right choice for you?

California readers who are overwhelmed by debt may know that bankruptcy could be a reasonable option for them. Filing for bankruptcy may not be your first choice, but it could be a way to obtain a better financial future that is free from the threat of losing your home and the harassment from creditors.

If you are dealing with the possibility of losing your home to foreclosure or specific types of debt, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be the right choice for you. Even if you believe that this is the practical choice for your individual situation, it is smart to have a complete evaluation of your case in order to fully explore all of your options. Filing for any type of consumer bankruptcy is a serious decision, and it is prudent to take care to know all of your options before you proceed.

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