The Affordable Care Act and Bankruptcy: What you need to know

The high costs associated with medical care have led many individuals to experience significant financial challenges due to treatment that they have received after suffering an injury or illness, even if they have health insurance. In an effort to address some of these challenges, new federal legislation was enacted in the hopes that it would help individuals deal with rising health care costs. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), frequently referred to as Obamacare, requires individuals to obtain health insurance so that they are protected should they need medical care.

The ACA has been in the news a lot recently over some of the problems that individuals have experienced when they attempted to sign up for health insurance. As more people start to consider their insurance options, some have questions about the costs and other provisions associated with the act.

One of the biggest issues for many individuals concerns the expenses connected with the various types of coverage being offered. Some individuals may have trouble meeting the financial obligations imposed by the law. However, the ACA does have 14 hardship exemptions in place, including a provision exempting those who have filed for bankruptcy within the last six months.

This could potentially lead more individuals to consider filing for bankruptcy protection if they are having money problems, and there may be several different options available. Under Chapter 7, debtors will have certain debts reorganized and discharged under a one-time payment. Under Chapter 13, debtors will make payments that run from three to five years, and once the payment schedule is complete, their debts will be considered discharged. This is the option most likely to be used by homeowners or those with a lot of equity in their homes.

Those who decide to file for bankruptcy will find that any collections actions they may be facing must stop while the proceeding is ongoing. This can be extremely beneficial to individuals who are being pursued by collections agencies for past-due medical bills or other outstanding debts. This allows debtors to reorganize and begin to rebuild their assets so that they can remain in control of their finances.

If you have questions about how the new health insurance law will impact your particular financial situation, speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible about the options that will be available for your specific situation. It is important that you create a solution that will address your unique problems, as each person will have different concerns and needs.