Medical Debts Still Pushing Arizonans into Foreclosure

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Pew Law Center medical bankruptcy awareness program helps Arizonans stop overdue health bills from triggering foreclosure.

The Pew Law Center, PLLC, of Mesa, initiated its Medical Bankruptcy Awareness Program earlier this month. The program was designed to inform Arizonans on the availability of bankruptcy protection to stop overdue healthcare and medical bills from triggering foreclosure.

Managing attorney Lawrence ‘D’ Pew is familiar with the disastrous effects unpaid medical bills can have on an individual’s personal finances, and on the ability to pay a mortgage. “Too many clients seek help after foreclosure proceedings are underway,” says Mr. Pew. “When they really need legal guidance as soon as they have medical bills they cannot pay.”

A difficult childbirth, an automobile accident, a life-threatening disease, a disability – even with health insurance the medical expenses may be exorbitant and well beyond a family’s means. When surprise medical expenses are added to the regular debt load, even with both spouses insured and working, their combined incomes may be insufficient to cover the mortgage, too.

Most people try their best to keep up with monthly expenses, but when they start falling behind on other bills like credit cards, auto payments, insurance premiums, utilities, taxes, it is a downward spiral that leads to foreclosure and bankruptcy.

But it doesn’t have to be foreclosure followed by bankruptcy. “If the bankruptcy is filed before there is a serious default on the mortgage, we can really work toward lightening the financial burden for that consumer,” continued Mr. Pew, “by addressing the unpaid medical bills, the unsecured debts, we can often avoid foreclosure and keep people in their homes.”

Filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 will stop all creditor actions outside the bankruptcy. “The automatic stay in bankruptcy,” explained Mr. Pew, “requires that collections cease immediately. This gives the debtor a much-needed breather – time to grapple with their entire financial picture and make informed decisions.”

For more information about the Medical Bankruptcy Awareness Program, contact the Pew Law Center at or call 480-745-1770

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