Medical Bill Debt up to Seven Figures
In 2010, Steven Stacey was in a very bad car accident involving his cousin and two friends. Although his mother, Michelle, was notified she did not get much detail when the accident occurred. As her son fought for his life and underwent an operation at the Saint Francis Medical Center in Missouri, Michelle did what any other parent would do. She did not worry about the medical costs associated with his injuries as long as it helped her child. Costs or medical bill debt did not even cross her mind when it came to her son’s life.
Although his life was saved, unfortunately saving her child’s life came at a high cost as many severe injuries or illnesses do. Those hospital bills certainly added up quickly. When he was found at the scene of the accident, he was thrown from the car and suffered internal bleeding. He also had a pulverized spleen, and was even in a coma for a short period of time. He suffered from brain bleeds, fractures in his back, as well as a broken collarbone. His left lung had collapsed while his right lung had bruising.
The medical charges from the center for his two week stay at the hospital ended up costing over $422,000, this according to Michelle’s insurance statements. The bills didn’t stop there, he was then transferred to a hospital in St. Louis for an additional six weeks allowing his medical bills to reach seven figures.
If You Are Struggling With Medical Debt, Speak to a Dallas Bankruptcy Attorney
Stacey is just one of the many who face either a life threatening illness or injury and end up owing a million or more in medical debt. If you are in medical debt whether you owe hundreds, thousands, or millions, you should seek help from a legal professional. They can provide helpful advice and go over options so you can decide how to get rid of your medical debt.
Medical Bill Debt Can Destroy Lives
There’s a must-read article in the Dallas Morning News, which features the stories of ordinary Texas residents who have faced mounting medical debt. Over 70 million Americans are either uninsured or underinsured which makes them very vulnerable to incurring massive amounts of medical debt. But this isn’t the only population of Americans who are exposed to medical debt. Even those who are covered by their employer’s medical coverage can become victims to medical debt.
The Dallas Morning News article featured several stories; but one of them told the story of David Alvey who faced rising healthcare insurance premiums that were threatening to surpass the cost of his mortgage.
The article said:
The Alveys’ insurance costs kept increasing until two years ago, when they learned that their premiums were going to be $1,400 a month. David’s medication was an additional $1,000 a month…” There were some days I didn’t want to get up in the morning to face all the medical debt,” David said.
This type of situation can be financially devastating. The average American cannot afford a healthcare insurance premium that costs $300 let alone $1,400 a month, plus $1,000 a month for medication. The need to pay these astronomical costs can push many into financial trouble, missed mortgage payments, delinquent credit card accounts…you name it. This is a dangerous tight rope situation and could end disastrously. And that’s for a person with medical insurance. Millions of Americans don’t have any healthcare insurance and instead of facing healthcare premiums they face tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt that threaten to drive them into foreclosure and complete destitution. Bankruptcy helps debtors discharge medical debt and/or allows them to repay the medical debt under favorable terms. If you are facing large amounts of medical debt, please contact a Dallas-Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney to discover your bankruptcy options.
Medical Bill Debt Continues to Be the Driving Force Behind Bankruptcy Filing
A new study confirms what many American households continue to struggle with: medical bill debt. When it comes to filing for bankruptcy such bills continue to be one of the main reasons why people seek legal protection. Besides rising medical costs, other reasons bankruptcy is commonly filed include unpaid mortgages and credit card debt. Even those who have health insurance coverage are immune to financial hardships.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States Census, the federal court system, and other organizations were collected, analyzed, and compared. Studies claim that roughly 20 percent of American adults are struggling to pay medical bills. The study has emphasized the continuing burden medical costs have had on families across the country. Usually, when bankruptcy is filed some may say it is due to poor financial choices or lack of good spending habits, but for others this isn’t the problem.
The study showed some startling information with 25 million American’s admit to being hesitant in taking their medication just to try and save money. It is estimated that close to 10 million Americans may deal with medical debt they cannot pay. A whopping 56 million Americans may struggle in paying their medical bills this year, with many being under the age of 65. Over 1 million American households are expected to file bankruptcy due to inability to pay medical bills. Maxing out credit cards, draining savings accounts, and even refinancing homes have all been completed, leaving bankruptcy as a final resort.
Medical Debt Causes Two-Thirds of Bankruptcies
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, nearly two-thirds of debtors who filed bankruptcy in 2007 cite illness and medical bills as the primary reason for their financial problems. And 77 percent of those bankrupt debtors had health insurance in the beginning of their illness; but lost it later.
The article said:
Four in 10 of the “medically bankrupt” had lost two or more weeks of wages due to their own or a family member’s illness, roughly 35% had spent more than $5,000 or 10% of their annual income in out-of-pocket medical bills, and 43% specifically cited their own or a family member’s illness as a reason for filing for bankruptcy.
The study follows a 2005 study by the same researchers, who found that between 2001 and 2007, the proportion of all bankruptcies that could be attributed to medical problems rose by 49.6%.
This study is disheartening; but not surprising. Medical debt can be absolutely devastating even for those with health insurance and a high-salary job. So many foreclosures and bankruptcies start with medical debt. The problem is the enormous costs of healthcare that can leave many debtors tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars is debt. This debt simply cannot be repaid using the resources/income available to most debtors, it’s impossible. That’s why many of these debtors are forced into bankruptcy.
If you’re facing mounting medical bills, you are not alone. Millions of Americans are drowning in medical debt which is literally destroying their financial health. Do not allow medical debt to get out of control. Bankruptcy allows debtors to discharge medical debt and protect their assets from seizure by creditors. To find out how you can discharge medical debt in bankruptcy, please contact a Dallas-Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney today.
Medical Bill Debt a Leading Cause of Bankruptcy for Half-Million Americans
According to an article in the Star-Telegram, bankruptcy filings caused by medical debt are on the rise as the economy worsens and more Americans lose their jobs and by extension their medical insurance. The article features Tirra Jones, who recently filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy because of the stress and financial duress created by more than $200,000 in medical debt.
The article said:
“Last month, Jones filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, joining hundreds of people in Fort Worth and more than a half-million nationally, by some estimates, who file for bankruptcy each year because of medical expenses. Except for two car notes, most of the $271,000 in debt that Jones has accumulated was for medical expenses.”
And despite what some may assume about Jones’ situation, she is not a person who just chose to skip the expense of medical insurance. After leaving her job and starting her own day-care center, she attempted to get health insurance; but was turned down because of her pre-existing condition — diabetes. That’s right, diabetes. There are an estimated 24 million Americans suffering from diabetes and many of them (and others) are being denied access to medical insurance because of their condition.
Those people who are denied medical insurance don’t just avoid going to the hospital; when they get sick, they are going to the hospital and wracking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt, forcing them into bankruptcy. Although the exact number of bankruptcy filings caused by medical debt is not known, a study conducted by researchers at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University examined bankruptcy cases for 2007 and concluded that nearly two out of three bankruptcies in the nation stem from medical bill debt. And that’s before the economic crisis.
Medical Bill Debt Continue to Be Leading Cause of Consumer Bankruptcy Filings
A 2007 study completed by the American Journal of Medicine looked at statistics of consumers who filed bankruptcy and found that 90 percent of consumers who filed bankruptcy due to mounting medical bills had $5,000 or more in medical debt. Even consumers with medical coverage have been subject to increased medical costs since their insurance may offer limited coverage. Some consumers may have even mortgaged a home to help cover medical costs.
Many consumers who have filed during this time period experienced other issues including illness and job loss. But when it comes to certain medical needs the costs tend to add up quickly, even when you pay out-of-pocket costs to have the insurance company cover the remaining amount. In general, insurance companies may cover between 60 to 80 percent of medical-related costs. In many cases the insurance company may pay a certain percentage for care such as a diagnosis or surgery.
But a factor that ends up hurting a lot of consumers include paying for prescription medicines or costs not covered by insurance related to hospital stays. Medical costs related to a cancer diagnosis for example could top near $25,000 depending on medical services based at fair market prices. Even though many insurance plans offer a stop-loss provision for additional consumer protection in the case of a catastrophic injury or illness, many consumers may need to pay thousands in out-of-pocket costs before the insurance company picks up the tab.
Is Medical Bill Debt Causing Hospital Bankruptcy Filings?
The country has been hit by a string of hospital bankruptcy filings and closings that could impact healthcare access for many communities. St. Vincent’s Hospital is the latest hospital to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the hope that the bankruptcy filing will allow it to continue operating and caring for its patients until it closes. The hospital filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy with more than $1 billion in debt and few assets. There has been a lot of hand wringing and finger pointing; but what is the core cause of this rash of hospital bankruptcy filings?
Hospitals depend on the payments it receives from insurers and patients to survive. Without that income their cash flow slows to a trickle and eventually stops. That is the way the systems works. But what happens when millions of Americans no longer have health insurance because they are unemployed? What happens when millions of Americans are unable to pay their medical debt because they don’t have any health insurance or cash because of unemployment? What happens is that hospitals don’t get paid.
Even if the hospitals become aggressive (and they have) by sending more medical debt accounts to collections, you can’t get blood from a turnip. Most of those Americans suffering under medical debt are not paying simply because they can’t. They are often unemployed and uninsured which makes medical debt just another debt that is likely to go unpaid or even eventually discharged in bankruptcy. While outstanding and unpaid medical debt on a small scale won’t send hospitals into bankruptcy, large scale defaults on medical debt could send many hospitals into bankruptcy essentially battering our already suffering healthcare infrastructure.
Medical Bill Debt Continues to Be Leading Cause of Bankruptcy
Out of the 70 percent of Americans who file for bankruptcy, over 60 percent of them file due to debt from medical bills. Many consumers continue to struggle in paying medical bills and it continues to be the leading cause of bankruptcy. A recent report looks at how ethnic groups such as Latinos face ongoing struggles in paying medical debt with 1 in 4 having difficulties in paying their bills.
While this problem is ongoing, experts review a number of aspects as to why this is still a huge problem, even for those with insurance coverage. When you are unable to pay medical debt, collectors are likely to pounce on you for payment. Many consumers are well aware of how fast bills pile up when you become unemployed, have limited income, or a medical illness that requires extensive care. Some people have a limited ability to earn income because of their health.
Then you have a large number of people who are uninsured or underinsured. In the case of Latinos, experts predict close to 200,000 will file bankruptcy this year due to medical debt. Even if you have insurance you may not be out of the woods. Some people find it difficult to pay insurance premiums alone. Some who have insurance are surprised to learn what it may not cover if sudden illness occurs.
The good news is with bankruptcy you can explore your options when dealing with medical debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may help you eliminate or discharge qualifying debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may help you repay what you owe through a repayment plan based on your ability to make payments.
Medical Debt Goes up as Recession Worsens
According to an article in the Gazette, the amount of medical debt afflicting Americans is on the rise as the number of job losses mount and the recession worsens. That’s why many Americans facing mounting medical debt are filing bankruptcy for relief.
The article said:
“A new national study showed that more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the country were related to medical problems and most of the people were middle-class and well-educated and had medical insurance.”
Many of those who are insured eventually face medical debt because their insurance policies don’t cover enough or they don’t cover what they expect it to cover. Even if someone has medical insurance they need to carefully review their insurance policy so that they understand what is actually covered by the policy.
Many Americans facing medical debt have been burned by “emergency” medical insurance that was suppose to cover emergency care; but didn’t even cover an ambulance ride once an actual emergency occurred. Or, the “emergency” policy didn’t begin covering medical expenses until the patient paid a set amount of money “out-of-pocket.”
Unfortunately for most debtors facing medical debt, those “out-of-pocket” expenses can often be as much as $5,000. If you’re a debtor facing mounting medical debt, please contact a Dallas- Fort Worth bankruptcy attorney. Medical debt can often be discharged during bankruptcy giving debtors a fresh start financially.
Six Million Uninsured Texans Stand on the Brink of Medical Bankruptcy
According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, the most recent U.S. Census Bureau figures states that Texas leads the nation in the percentage of residents without health insurance. More than 1 out of every 4 Texans are without health insurance, a total of 6 million residents and Texas leads the nation in the numbers of children who go without health insurance.
The article said:
“…Texas had the nation’s highest percentage of children under 18 without coverage – 17.9 percent. Nationwide, the percentage was 9.9 percent.”
Lack of health insurance is one of the leading causes of bankruptcy. Medical debt is an outcome that most uninsured individuals simply cannot avoid. Medical procedures for even the simplest problems such as a broken bone or food poisoning can quickly snowball into an avalanche of medical debt priced in the tens of thousands of dollars. According to leading analysts the vast majority of debtors who file bankruptcy cite medical debt as one of the main causes of their financial trouble. Fortunately for debtors who file bankruptcy medical debt can be completely discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or repaid under reasonable terms in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Medical Bill Debt May Surpass Credit Card and Mortgage Debt as Leading Cause of Bankruptcy
A recent study continues to confirm one of most leading causes of consumer bankruptcy: medical bills. Yet, the study also brought to light other significant points that may hint medical bills may become the number one reason why bankruptcy is filed. Unpaid medical bills may surpass mortgage debt and credit card debt for various reasons, despite more people getting access to healthcare insurance.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is helping millions of Americans obtain health insurance, with a large number of consumers being able to obtain healthcare coverage for the first time in years. But many bankruptcy filings that have occurred in recent years were due to consumers unable to pay medical bills. Roughly 78 percent of people who file bankruptcy due to overwhelming medical debt had health insurance.
A 2013 study completed by NerdWallet Health showed evidence of medical debt possibly becoming the number one cause of bankruptcy over credit card debt and mortgage debt. High insurance deductibles, copays, and medical costs make it difficult for families to manage necessary household needs and put further stress on finances. Americans who were forced out of a job may have tried to continue medical coverage through COBRA, though these payments alone are a challenge especially if you have been laid off.
Experts believe medical expense rates have grown so quickly they have gone above inflation. Making it a dominate force many consumers are forced to deal with. Also known as a medical bankruptcy, consumers considering filing because of medical debt should review their filing options closely with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Will the Rising Cost of Medical Insurance Cause More Bankruptcies?
The cost of medical insurance has continued to rise, burdening both employers and workers. But as the economy worsens many experts are predicting that the cost of coverage could increase as much as 30 percent each year with many employers passing on the increased cost of health insurance to workers. Many workers, especially those who are living on tight budgets, will choose to drop their coverage making them more vulnerable to medical debt and bankruptcy. Even government plans such as Medicaid and Medicare and feeling the squeeze and President Obama is predicting bankruptcy of these programs if steps are not taken to decrease the costs. But for individuals and families reliant on employers to provide low-cost medical insurance, bankruptcy is already becoming a very real possibility. Here’s why…
- Many employers are attempting to decrease their medical insurance costs by forcing workers to pay for a higher percentage of their premiums. This can be particularly difficult for families dependent on one salary. Many of those families either forgo or sign-up for inadequate coverage which increases their risk of medical debt and eventual bankruptcy.
- The rising numbers of job losses are leaving more workers uninsured. Eventually these workers get sick, rack up large amounts of medical debt and are forced to file bankruptcy for relief.
- Even for unemployed workers who want to continue their coverage under a former employer’s health insurance program, COBRA is an expensive option. Even with subsidies many workers are forced to choose between paying for health insurance and paying the mortgage.
- Finally, a growing number of Americans are finding themselves uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions. Those Americans are either stuck paying exorbitantly high premiums or risking medical debt and bankruptcy by forgoing health insurance coverage.