Credit card and medical debts are two of the most common debts that our clients are struggling with when we meet them for the first time. Thankfully both credit card and medical debts can be included in a bankruptcy filing. In a chapter 7 bankruptcy all credit card and medical debt is fully discharged (wiped away). In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a portion of your credit card or medical debt is repaid through a structured payment plan based on what you can afford to pay towards those debts.
While you cannot pick and choose which debts to include or not include, you can choose to voluntarily repay any creditor after the bankruptcy is over. This means that you cannot choose to file bankruptcy for your medical debt only or your credit card debt only. You must list all debts that you have at the time of filing. For example: if you have $15,000 of medical debt that you want to get rid of but a credit card with a $5,000 balance that you want to keep, both debts must be listed, and both will be included in the bankruptcy. In this example, when the bankruptcy is over you would no longer have any legal obligation to pay the $5,000 credit card back, but you could choose to do so voluntarily if you wanted. It is very likely, however, that the credit card company will close the account either way. It is best to start fresh entirely once your bankruptcy is complete.
by Megan M.R. McCarthy