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Medical debt piles up on insured persons without relief in sight

Tennessee residents are struggling with medical bills and insurance coverage in the same manner as their counterparts throughout the country. A shocking and demoralizing aspect of medical debt these days is that even if a person or family has medical insurance, he or she is likely to be burdened with surprise bills that are not covered by insurance. Many surgeons, for example, practice independently and don't recognize or participate in various major insurance plans.

When the insured patient declines to pay the bill due to the belief that he or she was fully insured, the bill will likely be turned over to a collection agency for a period of incessant dunning of the patient. This ultimately may lead to the filing of a lawsuit, and if no defense is presented or if a defense does not prevail, it will lead to the entry of a judgment against the patient. When a judgment is entered against one who owns real estate, a lien attaches in most cases to the property.

The lien may prevent the homeowner from taking out a loan or refinancing without paying off the lien. Where the debt is reported to the credit bureau it may prevent the homeowner from being qualified for new financing. In addition, the lien would have to be paid off in order for the owner to sell the real estate.

This dilemma regarding medical debt and the failure of medical insurance to cover all services is a mounting problem nationwide, including in Tennessee. A substantial percentage of these types of unexpected bills are being asserted against average working people who thought that they were covered by insurance. When a catastrophic medical emergency arises and the medical bills that are not covered represent a danger to the family's economic survival, such debt is easily discharged quickly and forever in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for those consumers who are qualified for such relief.

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