While politicians in Washington, D.C. tussle over the state of health care and what form insurance coverage should take, their constituents nationwide continue to be blindsided by medical debts.
The United States has a corner on that market when it comes to Herculean medical costs. Citizens of other developed countries do not experience the stress of ongoing or sudden medical bills. Medical debt is a common and catastrophic denominator in bankruptcy filings.
The Burden That Leads To Bankruptcy
The American Journal of Public Health announced that nearly 60 percent of bankruptcy filers considered medical bills as a primary factor in pursuing debt relief. Surprisingly, it ranked higher than student loans and mortgages.
Additional studies uncovered equally troubling statistics:
- A vast majority of unpaid bills sent to collection agencies are medical invoices
- Twenty percent of Americans have a medical claim on their credit report with an equal percentage dealing with an unpaid medical bill considered overdue
- One-third of cancer survivors are in debt over medical costs with three percent filing for bankruptcy
Ironically, their overwhelming debt was not created by irresponsible spending, overuse of high-interest credit cards, or a general indifference about paying their bills. Through no fault of their own, a sudden medical emergency arose, leaving them with little choice but pursue services regardless of the cost. When the bill came due, any level of financial stability they once had evaporated.
Medical costs are at such a burdensome level that some even delay or avoid treatment over the fear of taking on significant debt that they will not be able to cover. Simply put, they are choosing illness and pain over what they see as an unpayable financial obligation.
The positives surrounding bankruptcy filings are numerous and far outweigh the negatives. Options exist for those dealing with medical problems that can provide peace of mind that comes with a financial “do-over.”