Don’t skip your meds.
Do get them for less
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP LEFT: ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRISTOPH NIEMANN ( 2); COURTESY OF FURMINATOR INC. BANKRUPTCY STATISTICS: FINDLAW.COM SURVEY,JANUARY 2009; NATIONAL BANKRUPTCY RESEARCH CENTER
When Bankruptcy Is Smarter
The Short Answer
of us did
Prescription assistance programs,
often sponsored by drug-makers, help patients who
qualify based on financial
need. Ask your doctor to
direct you, or search the
Partnership for Prescription
listing at pparx.org.
Q: I’m doing everything I can
to avoid bankruptcy, but I have
little home equity left to tap.
What do I do?
illnesses often know
sources of aid for patients
who can’t afford their
prescriptions, says Cheryl
director of health policy at
Families USA, a consumer-
A: Stop fighting it: bankruptcy makes
way more sense than decimating re-
tirement or college savings accounts,
which in bankruptcy are largely pro-
tected from creditors. “When people
are in real trouble, they often wait
too long to get the relief they need,”
says Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek’s
personal-finance columnist. “Bank-
ruptcy is designed to give people with
no other way out a fresh start.”
The law provides two routes.
If your income is low enough, you
may qualify under Chapter 7 of the
bankruptcy code, which wipes out
medical bills and credit card debts.
If you have sufficient income, a Chap-
ter 13 filing to reduce and reschedule
your debt is more likely. You and your
lawyer—and you’ll want a lawyer—
work out a three- to five-year plan
with the court. Filing for bankruptcy
stops foreclosure action, at least tem-
porarily, but only Chapter 13 allows
you to bring mortgage payments up-
to-date as part of your plan. (A law
that would let judges trim mortgage
burdens is up for debate in Congress.)
About 40 states
programs to help low-
income patients, who can
also get help with Medicare
Part D costs, either through
their state or Medicare.
Check with your Area Agency
on Aging (to find yours, call
800-677-1116 or go to www
. eldercare.gov). —W. K.
Oh Really? :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
THE PRODUC T FURminator
deShedding Tool (in several
sizes, $17.99 and up at pet stores
and online discounters).
THE CLAIM Its fine teeth collect
hair from dogs’ and cats’ under-
coats, reducing shedding by as
much as 90 percent.
THE TEST Buddy, my Jack Rus-
sell terrier, hates being combed,
but he sat calmly while I used
short, light strokes to harvest
an amazing amount of loose
hair in just five minutes. (Mat-
ted fur requires a preliminary
brushing, the maker warns.)
THE VERDIC T A worthwhile
labor saver—I’m vacuuming
weekly now instead of every
other day. —Frank Yuvancic