Alternative to Filing Bankruptcy Due to Medical Expenses Comments on Harvard Study Citing High Medical Expenses as Cause for High U.S. Bankruptcy Filings.

San Mateo, CA, February 19, 2009 --( Nearly half of the nation's 1.5 million bankruptcy filings in 2001 were because of medical costs, despite the fact that 75 percent of people who experienced medical bankruptcy and had health insurance, according to a study from Harvard Law School and Harvard Medical School. While medical costs and subsequent loss of income can cause serious financial troubles, an alternative to bankruptcy does exist.

"Many people don't realize that bankruptcy is not the only solution for people who have the type of financial trouble cited in the Harvard study", says Brad Stroh, Founder of Consumer debt resolution, he explains, is a solid but less well-known alternative.

When medical costs have run finances into the ground, debt resolution companies work for consumers to negotiate lower payments to medical providers. Most of the time, consumers gain significant savings. Unlike credit counseling, debt consolidation or debt management plans, consumer debt resolution lowers actual principal owed, not only interest rates or minimum payments. While the credit counseling industry has come under fire by the IRS for taking advantage of "non-profit" status and relying on funding from creditors, debt resolution serves the consumer directly, in a position of mediation and negotiation with unsecured creditors.

For people who have severe debt trouble caused by medical expenses as well as job loss, divorce or other unexpected events the result is a less complicated alternative to getting back on financial track.

Before filing for bankruptcy, consumers with severe debt from medical problems should consider these options:

Plan ahead with insurance – Before medical costs arise, be sure you have the best insurance you can get. Some plans now carry lifetime maximums of $8 million or more. "One tough illness can run through a $1 million maximum before you know it", Stroh notes.

Pay critical bills first "The most important payment to make is your mortgage. If you fall behind, you can lose your house", Stroh says. Hang onto your house above all else.

Know what you owe "After a serious medical incident runs up hospital bills or leaves you without income, collect all your bills to learn exactly how much you owe. Beware of being socked with a late, huge hospital invoice", Stroh suggests. Call the accounts payable departments of all involved parties, hospitals, doctor's offices, emergency rooms (which might bill separately for physicians) to sum up costs.

Choose help carefully. If you need help to negotiate payments, be sure you are working with a reputable debt resolution service that works as an advocate for the consumer, not creditors. Payments to help resolve your debt shouldn't add to your overall debts, and all payments should be clearly spelled out from the beginning. At Freedom Financial Network, for example, consumers pay a fee that represents a nominal percentage of savings gained. Don't allow optional fees; find out exactly what your obligations will be.

"Filing for bankruptcy can destroy your credit rating for a decade," Stroh explains. "Customers with serious medical bills have been through enough trauma. They need to understand that they have options to resolve their debt, with less impact to their credit rating than bankruptcy."

About (
Based in San Mateo, Calif., is a free one-stop portal where consumers can educate themselves about complex personal finance issues and comparison shop for products and services including credit cards, debt relief assistance, insurance, mortgages and other loans. As the online portal to Freedom Financial Network, LLC, the company has served more than 50,000 customers nationwide since 2002 while managing more than $1 billion in consumer debt. Its RSS feed is available at holds the No. 257 spot on the Inc. 500 list for 2008, and the No. 3 spot on Entrepreneur Magazine's Hot 100 list of the fastest-growing U.S. companies. Company co-founders and co-CEOs Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh were named to the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list in 2008, and were recipients of the Northern California Ernst & Young 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Contact, LLC
Tanya Rice
1875 South Grant Street #400
San Mateo, CA 94402