Study Shows Medical Bills No. 1 Cause of Bankruptcy

A recent study revealed unpaid medical bills to be the number one cause of bankruptcy in America, surpassing credit card bills and unpaid mortgages. It’s estimated that nearly two million people will file for bankruptcy this year because of medical bills they are unable to pay. The research was done by NerdWallet Health, a division of the popular price-comparison website. Researchers examined data from multiple agencies, including the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, the federal court system and the Commonwealth fund, a private organization that focuses on quality and efficiency within the health care industry. Consider three other interesting findings.

  • The highest number of bankruptcies come from middle-aged Americans. People between 35 and 44 years of age will make up 28.9 percent of bankruptcies filed because of unpaid medical bills in 2013. The next age group, those between 45 and 54, are a close second at 26.4 percent.
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) won’t really solve the problem. One big effect of the ACA will be that more people will have insurance coverage. However, the study revealed that having insurance doesn’t really save a person from mounting medical bills. The data revealed nearly 10 million insured Americans will incur medical debt they cannot pay off this year. Many adults with high deductible insurance plans are finding out-of-pocket expenses to be overwhelming.
  • Mounting medical bills create bigger problems. Americans are going to great lengths to pay their medical bills. Many are paying with credit cards, accumulating more debt. NerdWallet revealed 15 million people will use up their savings and another 10 million will not be able to pay for basic necessities, such as food and rent, because of medical bills. Even more troubling, the study found that 25 million people are skipping doses or not refilling their prescriptions in order to save money, often creating more medical problems and bills.

The bottom-line is that Americans are struggling, both the insured and the uninsured. Talk to a Dayton bankruptcy lawyer if you are facing medical bills you are unable to pay. Each person’s circumstances are unique. Let us help you get on the road to financial stability and peace of mind. Contact us for a free consultation.

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