One Illness Away from Financial Ruin

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There has been much debate about health care coverage and what people can and cannot afford. The reality is, however, that more than 25 percent of Americans have difficulty paying their medical bills, even those who do have health insurance.

In fact, one survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that almost half of adults admit they would have difficulties paying a $500 unexpected medical bill. Twenty percent say they would have to put the bill with a credit card, while another 20 percent said they would not be able to pay it at all. Other options those surveyed said they would have to borrow the money from a family member, friend, payday lender, or other lending option.

According to national statistics, medical debt is the primary reason why people file for bankruptcy. And despite having medical insurance, more than 60 percent wipe out their savings in order to pay for medical care. All it takes is one serious medical condition or injury to totally decimate a person’s financial stability and leave them facing the bankruptcy decision.

Medical Bills and Bankruptcy

Approximately 1.5 million adults file for bankruptcy in this country each year. An incredible 50 percent of them do so because of medical bills. One survey conducted by Harvard University researchers found that for those families who filed bankruptcy because of medical reasons owed an average of $18,000 in healthcare bills. Three out of four who participated in the survey had medical insurance but were still left financially devastated.

Experts say that unless you are a billionaire, you may be just one illness away from financial ruin, even if you have medical insurance. And it is easy to see why. The average per day cost of a hospital stay is just under $4,000, while the average stay is about $16,000. Even simple diagnostic testing and procedures – such as blood work, X-rays, and medications – can have astronomical price tags attached. Now add in the costs of surgeries, specialist fees, and more.

It is rare these days that anyone has medical insurance that covers 100 percent of medical care expenses. Not only do most policies leave the insured still paying a high percentage of out-of-pocket expenses, but many also have a high deductible before insurance coverage even kicks in.  You can see where one four-day hospital stay with surgery can result in a person owing thousands and thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Many times, this is compounded because the person is unable to work while they recover and may not have sick time or other benefits, leaving them with no income coming in.

Call a Bankruptcy Attorney Today

If your family is struggling financially because of medical bills, contact a bankruptcy lawyer today to find out if bankruptcy may be an option. We can set up a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney, who will evaluate your situation and determine which course of action would be right for you.