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Medical bills are pushing Americans towards bankruptcy

Life is expensive. Between the cups of coffee we drink every morning to the annual checkup we have with our physician, we are constantly forking over money to keep our lives moving forward. However, all those costs add up and make it difficult to continue maintaining specific expenses.

For example, costly medical bills quickly put families in a financial situation where they can’t maintain daily conveniences or mandatory payments, such as rent or mortgage. It forces more Americans to find alternative ways to repay their medical bills, including bankruptcy.

Medical Debt – An American Issue

Medical bills are specifically affecting Americans, according to the American Journal of Public Health. The journal published a survey that found 60% of bankruptcy participants in the United States stated medical costs either “very much” or “somewhat” contributed to their debts.

While participants also listed student loans or home foreclosures as major expenses, medical bills are still one of the most prevalent costs across the U.S. today. The Atlantic recently explored medical costs and bankruptcy and met a patient with over $20,000 in medical charges after suffering from a mini-stroke.

The patient, Venus Lockett, told the Atlantic that she regretted going to the hospital but was afraid for her life. It’s the same experiences millions of citizens go through each year. Even with insurance coverage, you may still be left with thousands of dollars in bills to cover the cost of medical tests, hospitalization and other treatments.

When those medical bills go unpaid, the debt goes to debt collectors and becomes another burden on the patient. Luckily, bankruptcy helps patients slowly pay off medical expenses while keeping collectors at bay.

In New York, individuals seek bankruptcy by filing a case with the federal court and work with an attorney to go through the court process. Once you kick off the process, you will be eligible for a payment schedule or even a debt discharge.

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Peter R. Scribner, Esq.
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