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Medical bills can generate massive debt

Despite the fact that recent health care regulations have provided health insurance to New Jersey residents and many others nationwide, medical debt is and will continue to be a big problem for American families. Sadly, it appears that medical debt is a rampant problem sweeping the country. Even one accident or unexpected diagnosis can deplete a family’s savings very quickly.

Across the country, two-thirds of bankruptcy filers note that medical debt is the number one reason for seeking debt relief. Even individuals with health insurance might find out too late that their insurance doesn’t provide the comprehensive protection they expected. Patients may receive bills a few weeks after a hospital stay to find out they owe four or five figures in medical bills.

According to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, one out of every three Americans currently reports difficulty paying their medical bills. Nearly 30 million Americans have already emptied their savings accounts; over 20 million are attempting to make payments on credit cards; and another 20 million cannot afford basics like groceries as they struggle to keep up with medical debt.

There is huge variability in cost for treatments around the country, and another study found that a sprain injury resulting in an emergency room visit could cost anywhere from $4 to over $20,000. Since many simply visit their nearest emergency room to receive treatment, patients may not even be aware of the cost. For some, getting treated for injuries or illnesses means rising medical debt that they can never hope to overcome without debt relief.

Those who are struggling with their medical bills should consider learning about their debt relief options from a skilled bankruptcy attorney. In some cases, a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can provide consumers with the fresh start they need and deserve. In other cases, it is possible to address the debt in other ways by reaching reduced and feasible payment plans, among other options.

Source: Roll Call, “Medical debt: the new norm for patients in America,” Nancy Davenport-Ennis, April 30, 2014

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