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Americans struggle with debt while hospital execs rake in cash

It's enough to make you steaming mad. Even as 20 percent of working Americans struggle with mounting piles of medical debt, hospital executives are cashing in millions in annual salaries augmented by benefits. Some of those are even at the helm of non-profits.

America spent a total of $3 trillion for health care in 2014, of which 32 percent was allocated for hospital care. Roughly 25 percent of those costs went to administrative overhead expenses, the Health Affairs journal claims.

Some groups want to cap these CEO salaries at lower rates. While not all administrators earn millions, these executives are paid handsomely for their expertise, and the figures may not include incentives like bonuses or stock options that could up the total a great deal.

Yet, these bureaucrats are not immune to the sway of uncertain economic times. Last year, for example, saw a goodly number of publicly traded health care companies tighten their belts and slash executive payrolls.

Still, for the average American struggling to pay down a $20,000 hospital bill after an emergency operation requiring hospitalization, the disparity of the CEOs high salaries and their meager paychecks is stark illustration of the "haves" and "have nots" here in the United States.

There appears to be no end in sight for spiraling health care costs, as the uncertainty of the future of so-called Obamacare hangs by a thread come January and the swearing-in of President-elect Trump. Most patients and hospital executives expect that health care costs will continue to climb in 2017.

What can cash-strapped consumers do when they are between a rock and a financial hard place due to medical debt?

One solution to an unpaid mountain of medical bills is to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. This can wipe out old debts and give consumers a fresh start to better fiscal management.

Source: Huffington Post, "Hospital CEO Pay Rises While Americans Drown in Medical Debt," Shawn Radcliffe, accessed Nov. 25, 2016

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At the law offices of William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in Toms River and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Toms River, Neptune, Trenton, Middletown, Red Bank, Wall, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Asbury Park, Old Bridge, Jamesburg, Barnegat, Forked River, Manahawkin, Ocean Township, Brick, Manasquan, Howell, Freehold, Hazlet, Bradley Beach, Brown Mills, Long Branch, Keansburg, Marlboro, Bayville, Beachwood, Whiting, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Burlington County and Mercer County.