I often get a call from a potential client asking whether they can file for bankruptcy just on their medical bills, and not include their credit cards or other debts.
The short answer is that they can file, but not just on their medical bills. The slight longer answer explains why.
Bankruptcy is all about treating all your creditors in various classes fairly. For example, the Court doesn’t want to see you pay Aunt Marge the $1,000 she lent you last year and not pay MBNA for the $1,000 you owe them. While you think Aunt Marge deserves the money more than MBNA (actually, I do too), it isn’t fair to let you pick and choose who receives payment, or give them what the Code calls a “preference.”
Since medical bills, credit cards, most personal loans, and some taxes are all considered “general unsecured debts,” they all have to be treated the same way. This means that all of your debt, not just medical bills, has to be included. It also means that you can’t just file on one or two credit cards, or on one judgment.
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Last modified: May 8, 2007