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Medical debt forced veteran into bankruptcy

Despite wide sweeping reforms in the world of health insurance, medical debt apparently continues to burden a significant number of people in Washington. Even people who have otherwise reputable health insurance are not immune to the world of threatening phone calls over unpaid hospital bills. A veteran with the U.S. Navy says he was forced to file for bankruptcy over medical debt that he said the VA refused to help pay.

This veteran's issues stretch all the way back to the 1970s when he was serving as an active duty military personnel. During that time, he was severely injured in a car wreck and transported to a nearby hospital by air. He received necessary care and was discharged, but not without taking on a hefty amount of bills. In total, he owed the hospital $200,000, a cost that he says was the VA's responsibility.

As time passed, the veteran missed payments on a bill that was never supposed to be assessed in the first place. Ultimately, he filed bankruptcy in order to discharge the debt. Since then, he has been able to almost fully pay off the camper that he lives in, and according to a VA statement from 2013, he is still owed benefits from the car wreck. He hopes to see those funds soon.

Many people growing up in Washington likely heard "life is not fair" repeated by a parent or other family member, and while this is sometimes true, there are still avenues to deal with the aftermath. Although the medical debt that this veteran dealt with was not necessarily his fault, filing for bankruptcy provided a necessary avenue to clear the debt and allow him to move forward with his life. Emergencies can happen regarding even the best laid plans, and being aware of what options are available can help ensure the most favorable financial outcome possible.

Source:, "Veteran says he filed bankruptcy after the VA failed to pay medical bills", Marla Carter, March 16, 2015

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