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Medical costs lead to high bankruptcy numbers

As medical costs continue to rise in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, an increasing number of Americans are facing personal bankruptcy because of their health problems. Newly released statistics show that some 1.7 million Americans filed for bankruptcy because of their pressing medical bills. In fact, health costs are now the single largest contributor to such serious financial woes, outpacing mortgages, credit card balances and a variety of other debts.

Contrary to popular opinion, having health insurance does not seem to change rates of personal bankruptcy due to medical costs. Even those who are insured must pay co-pays or deductibles, many of which are still financially overwhelming. Many Americans may see insurance as a panacea, providing essentially free medical care after the premiums are paid, but this perspective is, in fact, erroneous.

Information from private researchers show that a startling one in four Americans reconsider purchasing critical medication in order to lower their health care costs. Those who delay taking their medication are only contributing to the worsening of their health conditions. This could ultimately lead to them becoming even sicker and spending more money than they would through prevention. Without medication, many patients require expensive emergency room visits, among other services.

Even those who do not file for bankruptcy are still struggling with their medical bills. More than 20 percent of the population between 19 and 64 barely scrape by because of their medical costs. A shocking 10 million Americans with full-time, year-round health insurance will still accumulate medical bills that they cannot pay during the next 12 months.

If you are struggling to pay for overdue medical bills, help may be on the horizon. Consider seeking the assistance of a qualified bankruptcy attorney and financial planner to find out more about your personal options. Bankruptcy could conceivably improve your financial situation by providing you with a blank slate, eliminating debts that are preventing you from living a normal life. Do not delay in contacting a professional if you are crushed under the burden of medical debt.

Source: www.today.com, "Biggest cause of personal bankruptcy: medical bills" Dana Mangan, Jun. 25, 2013

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