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Medical bills a leading cause of consumer bankruptcies

Although some evidence indicates that our nation's economy is on the mend, many are still struggling to make ends meet. Even for those who believe themselves to be in firm financial footing, an unexpected expense can be difficult to bear. According to a study titled "Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study," published in the American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are one of the most common causes of consumer bankruptcies.

According to David Himmelstein, the author of the study:

  • Medical bills are at the heart of 62.1 percent of all consumer bankruptcies
  • Most of those filing for bankruptcy were middle class
  • From 2001 to 2007, the number of bankruptcies attributable to medical bills rose by 50 percent

According to Himmelstein, three-quarters of those filing for bankruptcy because of illness or medical bills have insurance coverage, but it is not enough to pay out of pocket expenses such as copayments and deductibles.

Filing for bankruptcy is one option those facing steep medical costs may look to. Filing for bankruptcy can help stop harassing phone calls and endless letters demanding payment and can give individuals who are facing major financial struggles a chance for a fresh start. If you or someone you love is struggling to pay medical bills and is considering filing for personal bankruptcy, you may wish to consider contacting an experienced bankruptcy attorney. A knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer can assess your case, answer your questions, help you figure out if bankruptcy is the right option for you and help you figure out how to best get a fresh start.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Medical debt puts more at risk," Lindy Washburn, Jan. 21, 2012

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