Healthcare costs are among the most significant financial concerns for senior citizens. When Mississippi seniors retire, they typically lose their employer-sponsored health insurance and depend on Medicare to cover healthcare costs. Although Medicare covers many of the medical expenses seniors face, it also includes deductibles for inpatient care and coinsurance for outpatient treatment. Fortunately, there are some things seniors can do to minimize their out-of-pocket costs and avoid excessive medical debt.
One way to avoid bankruptcy due to medical debt is to reduce expenses. Seniors can do this by keeping their employer health plan as long as possible to delay signing up for Medicare parts B and D. After they retire, seniors could reduce expenses by purchasing a Medicare gap policy. This kind of private insurance covers coinsurance and deductibles that the senior would be responsible for if they only had Medicare coverage.
Another option is to contribute money to a health savings account. The funds in these accounts are either pre-tax or tax-deductible and may be used after retirement to pay for health-related expenses. While seniors cannot add to the account after they enroll in Medicare, the funds they add prior to retirement will be available to them until they’re exhausted.
Seniors may use these strategies to avoid using credit cards to pay for medical expenses. Healthcare costs could lead to excessive debt and lower a senior’s credit score at a time when they have limited income to repay the lenders. Doctors and hospitals may allow seniors to pay their bills directly to the provider over time if they request this kind of arrangement. Seniors who have excessive medical debt may wish to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to get debt relief. This may help them lower, or even eliminate, their medical debts.
Filing for bankruptcy is not a decision that those in Mississippi or anywhere else in the country can take lightly. While many debts could be eliminated in a Chapter 7 filing, it could also result in a person’s credit score dropping by about 200 points. This may make it harder to borrow money, and lenders who are willing to work with a person after bankruptcy will likely charge high interest rates.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is ideal for those who either don’t have a lot of money or don’t have any income at all. A trustee will be appointed to liquidate a debtor’s non-exempt assets and use the money raised to repay creditors. If a debtor also has secured debts like a home or car payment, he or she could choose to continue making those payments in a Chapter 7 filing.
As a general rule, this type of bankruptcy will stay on a credit report for up to 10 years. However, individuals are urged to continue making payments on their remaining debts to show that they can be trusted with debt again. Those who don’t have a job are encouraged to find employment as having an income generally makes it easier to save money or pay existing debts.
A person who has overwhelming debt might benefit from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a variety of ways. For instance, he or she may get a stay from creditor contact or collection activities such as a lawsuit. Bankruptcy might also result in debt balances being reduced or eliminated in a short period of time, allowing debtors to better manage their finances. An attorney may be able to describe other benefits of bankruptcy or whether it is in a person’s best interest to file for such protection.
People in Mississippi with bankruptcies on their records naturally await the day when their credit reports no longer show their defaults. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows credit bureaus to report bankruptcies for up to 10 years from the date of filing. Until then, former debtors can take steps to improve their credit ratings and potentially remove bankruptcies from their records.
A certified financial planner said that Chapter 7 bankruptcies remain on record for 10 years, but Chapter 13 cases can come off records after only 7 years. People might have the ability to remove these events from their credit reports if the credit agencies have recorded them inaccurately. To begin, a person would examine credit reports from all three major credit reporting companies. If any errors are present, then the person could dispute the entry. A credit agency’s inability to verify a bankruptcy might enable a person to have the record removed. Another tactic involves contacting the court house where the bankruptcy filing took place. If the court did not verify the bankruptcy for the credit agencies, then it would be an unverified entry. After obtaining a written statement about this, a person could ask the credit bureaus to erase unverified entries.
Whether a bankruptcy remains on record or not, people have the ability to improve their credit ratings by paying bills on time or early. Avoiding new debts could also help people keep their records clean.
A person contemplating bankruptcy may wish to consult an attorney. A legal evaluation of the person’s finances might show that a Chapter 13 filing could pave the way to a fresh financial start. The attorney may help the person create a manageable payment plan that repays creditors at least partially before the court dismisses remaining debts.
If you are accumulating too much debt, you may think about filing for bankruptcy. While it may sound intimidating to go bankrupt, it may be a good option for you. It can help you get free from crippling debts and start over.
However, before you rush into filing for bankruptcy, there are some things to handle. Here are some steps you should take before declaring bankruptcy.
1. Review your finances
You should have a clear picture of your financial situation before filing. At the very least, you should understand your income, expenses and total debts. Figure out what is causing your debt. You should also request your credit report for free before filing for bankruptcy. Not only will your credit report be an indication of your financial troubles, but it will also give you a good list of the creditors you owe.
2. Avoid racking up more debt
If you gather too much debt too close to your filing, the creditor may claim you are committing fraud. Do not spend frivolously on luxury items if you are considering bankruptcy. If you take on new debt, make sure it is for necessities such as food, utilities or medical bills.
3. Stop automatic payments
You may have settings on your credit cards or bank accounts to make automatic payments. Whether you have these for utilities or monthly subscriptions, you should freeze them before you declare bankruptcy.
4. Get legal help
According to CreditCards.com, talking to an attorney is essential before moving forward with bankruptcy. It is risky to attempt to handle it by yourself because the laws are so complex. Not only do you need assistance understanding bankruptcy laws, but you need someone who will steer you on the right path and tell you about your best options.
You do not need to feel fear or shame when it comes to bankruptcy – just make sure it is the right decision and you are ready for it.
Up to 80 percent of Americans living in Mississippi and throughout the country have some form of debt. However, for some, that debt may become too large to manage in an effective manner. To start the process of lowering credit card and other balances, it is important to understand the different options available to achieve that goal. One such option is to apply for a personal loan.
Personal loans allow individuals to consolidate a variety of different debt balances into one payment. Typically, these loans come at a lower interest rate than credit card companies charge. This results in lower monthly payments and the ability for an individual to improve his or her credit score. Another option for those with credit card debt is to transfer balances to to a new credit card with a lower interest rate.
It is important to understand that zero percent interest offers only apply for a limited time. After about 12 to 14 months, the interest rate on a remaining balance could be up to 15 percent. Individuals who can’t or don’t want to make use of those options could choose to work with a debt relief company that will negotiate with lenders on a debtor’s behalf. Instead of sending payments directly to creditors, payments are made to the debt relief company instead.
There are many ways in which a person may be able to overcome financial challenges. In addition to debt consolidation or working with a debt relief company, it may be possible to file for bankruptcy. Depending on a person’s income and asset levels, debts can either be discharged immediately or discharged over a series of three or five years. An attorney may describe the pros and cons of using bankruptcy or other debt relief options.