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Medical debt can send families into long-term financial crises

The American health-care system can provide an incredible array of solutions to health problems. Unfortunately, it also can send a family into debt as it struggles to meet normal everyday expenses and pay off bills from medical treatment. Like families in other states, some Maryland families have ended up in long-term financial crises because of medical debt.

According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey published earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 percent of American families have gone into long-term debt because of exorbitant medical expenses. The families who were most affected were those at the federal poverty level. Even families that were 250 percent above the federal poverty level were more vulnerable to incurring debt from medical expenses, debt that puts many families into troubled financial waters for years.

White House keen on reducing student debt traps

Most college students who complete their degree assume that the degree will lead to employment. However, many graduates are not finding full employment. Many students assumed responsibility for high-interest student loans in order to fund their education; not gaining sufficient employment to repay those loans may land a graduate in an abysmal debt trap.

President Obama has taken an increased interest in alleviating the student-loan debt trap prevalent in the United States today. Private, for-profit colleges are being asked to impose a limit on the total amount of student loan allowed, which is calculated by the present income or financial background of the individual student, or risk losing federal funding for those loans. The rules would be applicable to all college loan programs including private, state-funded and for-profit colleges.

What does the law say about Maryland credit card debt?

As many Maryland residents are aware, credit card debt played a significant role during the recent recession. Many consumers do not realize that exceeding their debt on the credit card can have severe repercussions. Using money from one credit card to pay off the debt for another card may lead to a credit card debt trap that is difficult to recover from.

The propensity to incur credit card debts, which affects the economy, led to the initiation of new credit card rules in the United States. Under the rules, every credit card company is obligated to inform its customers of any changes in the terms of the contract regarding usage of the credit card. Such terms may include changes in the rate of interest or fees, which must be sent at least 45 days before implementation of such a new policy by the company.

A lawyer can help a Baltimore resident handle medical debt

Medical expenses in Maryland can be staggering. Incurring medical bills through time can also lead people to major debt, sometimes leading as far as bankruptcy. Our law firm, with its 25 years of experience in defending consumers and aiding in debt relief, can be a friend and guide to help one out of the tricky situation caused by medical debt.

Medical debt often threatens the most vulnerable. The elderly, due to their physical vulnerabilities, may incur more medical debt than others, for example. New mothers are also vulnerable and may incur substantial debt due to prenatal care or childbirth. Some mothers may have also incurred expenses related to conception in the form of fertility treatments. Cancer or other serious illnesses can also leave Maryland residents with enormous and unexpected levels of medical debt.

How can a Maryland resident avoid foreclosure?

Foreclosure of a family's home can be a substantial negative event in a homeowner's life. Defaulting on mortgage payments for a main residence may force a family into homelessness. In addition to losing the family home, a foreclosure may adversely affect the future creditworthiness of the mortgage holder.

If the amount of debt owed by the mortgagee is higher than the value of available assets held by the homeowner, a deficiency judgment may be initiated against the debtor, which also can adversely affect one's ability to obtain credit. However, some steps may be taken at the beginning of a financial crisis to avoid drastic measures such as foreclosure.

How should Maryland debtors choose a credit counseling agency?

Many Maryland residents would probably agree that when debt is overwhelming meeting even day-to-day expenses, such as grocery and utility bills, becomes difficult. Therefore, selecting an adequate debt relief option is needed for a fresh start. The first step toward debt relief is receiving counseling. Debtors should be careful during this exercise, however, because credit counseling from an unauthorized agency can have severe detrimental effects.

Credit counseling services are meant to help the debtor manage their money and pay bills. Credit unions, Cooperative Extension offices, military service centers and a number of religious organizations in the United States offer credit counseling services, either for free or for a nominal charge. Additionally, there are non-profit organizations that offer programs under the name of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

What are the various ways of paying off medical debt?

In many cases, a patient or his or her family may not be able to pay one's medical bills themselves. In such cases, one may be compelled to take out loans in order to pay for them. The nation has a lot of people who are plagued with medical debt because of the high costs of medical procedures and pharmaceuticals.

There are a few ways of paying off one's medical debt or expenditures. One of the most common ways of paying off a medical expenditure is by contacting local state agencies and social services in Maryland. The Medicaid offices in Maryland may be able to help a person in need with their medical debt.

Credit card debt: a concern for many in Maryland

Most Americans, including those in Maryland, have a credit card. Credit cards let people purchase goods and services without money. But high credit card payments can often lead to huge debts, which the individual may never be able to repay.

There are many counseling agencies that may help individuals understand their financial situations with accumulated credit card debt. When seeking such professional help however, the debtor must be aware of the requirements for these types of companies. One should seek a counselor who is accredited with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Maryland struggling to erase aftereffects of foreclosure crisis

Maryland homeowners may shudder to remember the subprime mortgage crisis which, in conjunction with the recent economic downturn, left many residents without a home. While some Maryland homeowners managed to avoid foreclosure by the skin of their teeth, they were later affected by the resetting of interest rates, which had been lowered temporarily as a measure of economic relief for the unemployed and underemployed. For a period of time, some homes were saved from foreclosure.

This salvation is unfortunately showing signs of reversal if the latest RealtyTrac report is to be believed. The report states that the number of foreclosures in August of this year increased by almost 20 percent from the corresponding statistic a year ago. However, when analyzed on a month-to-month basis, this increase jumped 71 percent. According to the report, this surge is a consequence of recently enacted state litigation that allowed banks to foreclose on homes deserted by owners who had defaulted on mortgage payments.

Insurance companies and the approval of medical expenses

Most Maryland residents who have medical insurance probably believe that every disease and injury is covered under their insurance plan. However, when faced with a medical emergency or condition that may test the limits and extents of a medical coverage plan, patients may end up paying extensive out-of-pocket expenses or deductibles, because there is no guarantee that every claim sent to an insurance company will be accepted.

If an insurance company does not accept and pay a claim, a person may be overburdened with unexpected medical expenses. Claims can be denied by an insurance company for a number of reasons, including if it is determined that a procedure was not required or if the outcome of the procedure lacked certainty. Claims can be denied due to treatment obtained out of the insurance company's network of providers, or it may be stated that an improper procedure was conducted.

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