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Are You the One in Five People Whose Medical Bills Might Lead to Bankruptcy?

With an estimated 20 to 30 million more Americans likely to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” launching in full in 2014, medical economists caution that financial problems because of healthcare are not going to disappear, even if they are lessened. Copays and deductibles under legitimate insurance plans can still add up, which is particularly difficult for the working person who loses income as a result of an injury or illness. 

One study looked at data from the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Census and bankruptcy courts to find that more than 20 percent of American adults each year struggled with medical debts in the years prior to 2013. Hospitalization and other costs result in the following statistics: 

  • 10 million American adults with insurance coverage accumulate medical bills they cannot pay off within one year.
  • 1.7 million people are likely to file for bankruptcy protection in 2013.
  • 55 percent of medical bankruptcy filings are by people in the peak earnings years that are not necessarily associated with declining health, ages 35 to 54.
  • 15 million people deplete their life savings each year to cover medical bills, while another 10 million are unable to cover housing, food and utility expenses because of crushing hospitalization, therapy or medication costs. 

With numbers that large, it remains likely that millions of people are going to struggle with poor health and the costs that come with it in the future. Medical bankruptcy should not be taken lightly, but it is a choice for many that allows a protection of assets. That means the bankruptcy filer might be able to keep a home, car and other property while finding protection from creditors. Speak with a New York bankruptcy attorney if you want to explore your options.

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