Many people in Tennessee find themselves overwhelmed by debt suddenly after emergency medical care without health insurance. One woman in California drove herself to the emergency room after a car accident to avoid the costs of an ambulance ride but still was billed $20,000 for her trip to the ER. Now she must choose between paying the debt and getting care for her sprained shoulder.

Among different age groups, the amount of unpaid medial bills is highest for adults in their 20s despite the fact that overall the cost of medical care for this age group is low. The median amount of medical debt in collections among different ages peaks at age 27 with 11.6 percent of medical debt in collections and a median amount owed of $684.

One reason for this problem may be that millennials earn less than older adults. Adults ages 25 to 34 had a median income of $36,664 in 2017.

Another reason is lack of health insurance–almost 20 percent of adults in this age group were uninsured. For adults with health insurance, some smaller medical bills could be incurred before the individual reaches their deductible.

Many people who are facing overwhelming debt from medical bills can resolve their problem by requesting a payment plan or negotiating a settlement with their medical provider. When medical bills are impossible to pay even with a payment plan or a negotiated lump sum for less than the total amount owed, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a debtor’s best option.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can immediately stop creditor calls, foreclosure and wage garnishment and can be a great way for many debtors to get a fresh financial start. An attorney may be able to help debtors who want to file for bankruptcy by drafting the petition, filing the paperwork in federal court, responding to any pleadings filed by creditors and attending the Chapter 7 meeting with creditors.