Along with the cost of high-deductible insurance plans, mounting medical bills are a considerable worry for families with an average income. An accumulation of medical bills is certainly not the only reason people consider filing for bankruptcy protection, but healthcare-related debts prompt hundreds of thousands to seek relief.
Affecting people of all ages
You may think that senior citizens have the most trouble dealing with medical bills. However, NerdWallet Health conducted a 2013 survey showing that people 35 to 44 comprised the group that filed bankruptcy most often because of overwhelming medical debt. 45- to 54-year-olds were next in line for frequent filings.
Many Americans struggle with the cost of healthcare, and the issue is not restricted to being without insurance coverage. Out-of-pocket costs are problematic for many families who have health insurance plans with high deductibles. If they are suddenly confronted with medical bills for a serious disease, hospitalization, surgery or physical therapy, meeting an insurance deductible of $5,000 or $10,000 becomes nearly impossible.
Trying to pay
In an effort to pay medical debts, patients may use their savings. However, that source may run dry before successfully paying bills. Others use their credit cards to pay, but when those eventually max out, patients may run out of options, which is when they may begin to consider filing for bankruptcy.
To some people, filing for bankruptcy protection means that they have failed in some respect, but this is not true. It is better to regard bankruptcy for what it is: a legal method of solving debt problems and allowing filers to restart their financial future on sound footing. Those who file find that bankruptcy is a way to not only eliminate debt, but also help reestablish credit and improve a credit score. There are several forms of bankruptcy, but many people file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, both of which offer a fresh start.