Do I Have to Pay Back Medical Bills That Show Up After a Bankruptcy Discharge?

by Beverly Bird
All is not necessarily lost if you forget to include certain bills in your bankruptcy petition.

All is not necessarily lost if you forget to include certain bills in your bankruptcy petition.

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What you still have to pay after your bankruptcy discharge depends on what type of bankruptcy case you filed and when the debts were incurred. The determining date isn't when your discharge was granted -- it's the date you filed your petition. If you incur debts after this date, they're typically not dischargeable. If you inadvertently overlooked them when you filed your bankruptcy petition, however, you may have some options.

Amending Your Petition

If you forgot to include medical debts that existed at the time you filed for bankruptcy, you can amend your Chapter 7 petition to add them, even after your other debts have been discharged. You may not have to do this, however, if your case involved no assets, meaning there was nothing for the trustee to sell, so none of your creditors received anything. In a Chapter 13 case, you don't have to amend your whole petition if you forget to include debts, but only the terms of your repayment plan.

Post-Petition Debts

Although you can't discharge debts incurred after you file a Chapter 7 petition, an exception exists with regard to medical bills in Chapter 13 proceedings. If you incur additional medical debt after you file, these bills may be added to your repayment plan. If you add them, you must still pay them in full, plus any interest that accrues during the term of your plan. They're not discharged in the respect that you don't have to pay them, but bankruptcy's automatic stay prevents your creditors from hounding you for payment.