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Study shows medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcies

As most readers throughout Eugene, and the surrounding areas, are aware, the cost of health care can be high in the U.S. For both the uninsured, and the insured, this can mean that a serious injury or illness can result in physical challenges during the treatment and recovery process, as well as in financial challenges for people, and their families. A study conducted by NerdWallet Health found that many people throughout the country are struggling with medical debt, making it one of the leading causes of U.S. bankruptcy filings.

Using information and reports from various sources, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. census, Harvard and U.S. courts, NerdWallet Health compiled a list of findings regarding medical bills and bankruptcy in America. The study estimated that 56 million people in the U.S. ages 65 and under would struggle to pay their medical bills in 2013, the year the study was conducted, and 10 million people between the ages of 19 and 64 will incur bills they cannot pay. It was estimated that 1.7 million people in the U.S. are living in households that will file bankruptcy largely due to their medical debt.

The problem of medical debt in America can be attributed to a number of factors. Even the most basic medical treatment can be costly and, in cases when people suffer serious injuries or illnesses, the expenses associated with medical care can rise quickly. For those who do not have health insurance and must shoulder the burden alone, medical debt can easily become overwhelming. According to a report by Fox Business, people with health insurance also often deal with medical bills they cannot pay. The out of pocket costs that many health insurances require, including co-insurance, co-payments, day to day care and travel to and from treatment, can reach into the thousands, and even the tens of thousands of dollars for those with serious conditions, often resulting in significant medical debt.

Filing for bankruptcy may provide relief to some people who are dealing with overwhelming medical debt, but it is not necessarily the best option for every case. People experiencing situations such as this may find it helpful to consult with an attorney to discuss their options and the best course of action based on their unique circumstances.

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