Regular calls from a New York hospital’s collection service might be a regular part of your life if you have medical expenses that you cannot afford to pay. However, a court officer showing up at your house with the notification that the hospital is suing you is another thing altogether. We know that devastating medical debt is not your fault, and there is no reason for you to feel persecuted by creditors for choosing groceries and housing before sending a check for your hospital bill.

Hospital lawsuits against individuals for unpaid medical bills have skyrocketed in recent years, according to the New York Times. During the last year, one healthcare system has sued over 6,700 patients with outstanding medical debt. A Midwestern not-for-profit children’s hospital has filed lawsuits for as little as $100 or less, including some against its own employees.

In New York, patients that have defaulted on their medical bills are somewhat luckier; the Times continued to report that medical lawsuits in this state are less common than in other parts of the country. Still, a New York hospital chain reports a significant increase in litigation from 2015 to 2017.

Many of these people with overwhelming medical debt also have health insurance, either through their employers or the Healthcare Marketplace. They could already pay substantial premiums out of their own pockets for often little in return. Average deductibles have tripled over the past few years, and some families might have to come up with $16,400 before their insurance kicks in, says the Times.

When you or a family member is gravely sick or injured, medical treatment is necessary, whether you can afford it or not. Over time, as medical debt goes unpaid, or other debt builds so that you can afford to pay your hospital bills and feed your family, you may find yourself so far underwater that declaring bankruptcy seems like the only option. We understand, and we want to help by giving you all the information you need — visit our webpage for more on personal bankruptcy.