Survey shows prevalence of medical debt across the nation

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Bankruptcy |

In Pennsylvania and throughout the United States, more and more people are confronted with medical debt. This is often one of the primary reasons for financial challenges reaching the point that the debtor is worrying about keeping their home and trying to find ways to get from one day to the next. While many will try to find solutions without pursuing bankruptcy, it is important to be aware of the positives that can come from clearing their massive bills – including medical expenses – through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 filing.

More than one-third of survey respondents are saddled with medical debt

According to a 2021 survey conducted by Healthcare.com, more than one in three people are dealing with some form of medical debt. More than 50% stated their total medical expenses surpassed $1,000. The Commonwealth Fund conducted its own survey that found many of the same results regarding medical debt. Its research found that more than half of those who did not have insurance and more than one in three of those who did have insurance had a problem with medical costs or were currently trying to pay them off. In 2017, similar research found that only 19% were in this situation.

Worryingly, people who have health care coverage are also accruing major medical debt. This stems from treatments that are not part of their plan and needing to see out of network medical professionals. Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly one in five people who needed to go for emergency treatment were charged for out of network care. Although it can be effective to try and negotiate and reduce the charges, even that might not make a large enough dent in the overall bill to make much of a difference. People who needed to get medical care who are suddenly getting nonstop calls from debt collectors may be wise to think about bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy may help with overwhelming debt

Medical debt has been a persistent problem and the current national situation has made it worse. People may be under the impression that bankruptcy is a profound negative. In truth, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy is a legal tactic to clear unsecured debt completely, try to keep certain properties like a home and a car and restart a financial life with a clean slate. For assistance in understanding what bankruptcy entails and which chapter is suitable, consulting with those experienced in the process can be helpful with making an informed decision and putting the process in motion. This can be essential for those with extensive medical bills.

 

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