Legal Question in Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania

I know there is a law now that your children have to pay your medical bills if you don't. They can put a lien against your children's homes etc. I have medical bills I just incurred in the last year for $70,000.00. I have no job. I had medical insurance which they would not cover anything. I tried to get the charges down but they said since I had insurance I get the insurance rate. However, my question is: Can I file bankruptcy to clear these medical liens or do medical liens still apply after a bankruptcy?

Asked on 1/30/13, 7:16 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Brad Sadek Sadek and Cooper Law Offices, LLC

Most likely you will qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and will receive a discharge of the $70,000 or so in Medical Bills. Under Bankruptcy Law the Medical Bills are an unsecured, nonpriority debt and are therefore dischargeable. Once included in a Bankruptcy there may be no further efforts to collect the medical debt currently due and owing. Thank you for posting this question.

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Answered on 1/30/13, 7:22 am
Michael Duffy Duffy Law, LLC

Unless they agreed to be responsible or there are other extenuating circumstances, generally no one else is responsible for your debt, including your children. There is no law specifically saying that children are somehow responsible for parents' medical bills. Medical bills are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy as unsecured debt. You should speak with bankruptcy attorney immediately to determine what your options might be.

Our firm offers a free consultation.

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Answered on 1/30/13, 7:25 am
Matthew Nahrgang Nahrgang & Associates, P.C.

I respectfully disagree with Mr. Duffy as I took the liberty to research the issue and did indeed find such liability which is currently being litigated before the Supreme Court and reported in major news outlets. The filial support law is contained in, inter alia, 23 Pa.C.S. 4603.

I see no exception for the indigent filing a bankruptcy. Indeed, that seems to be the very purpose of the law. It is only when the parent cannot pay the bill that potential liability arises.

While Mr. Sadek may be correct and they will not pursue your children, it won't be because you filed bankruptcy for the reasons just stated. All the bankruptcy will do is eliminate your obligation to pay, not your children's. You could consider bankruptcies for all of you which, if eligible, eliminate all the debt.

Feel free to call or e-mail me on a free initial basis.

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Answered on 1/30/13, 9:00 am

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