For many Oregon residents, medical bills form a significant amount of their overall debt burden. Even people with insurance may struggle with high deductibles, expensive medications or out-of-network treatments. As a result, people may find themselves facing significant amounts of debt simply for seeking much-needed health care. In fact, one study found that around 30% of Americans have some form of medical debt totaling over $500. People may be concerned about how their medical expenses could affect their credit score.
Patients in Oregon and across the U.S. are getting slapped with surprise medical bills despite staying within their health care network, according to an analysis by the Health Care Cost Institute. In fact, the report found that approximately 1 in 7 patients nationwide get an unexpected medical bill after seeking in-network medical care.
Many Oregon residents look to their employers to help them with things like health insurance and saving money for retirement. Now, some employees may be able to look to their employer to help them deal with their debt.
Medical debt is a factor in about two-thirds of personal bankruptcies filed in Oregon and around the country according to a study published recently in the American Journal of Public Health. The analysis of approximately 530,000 families pushed into inescapable debt by illness or injury is seen as significant as it is the first major study of its kind conducted since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. One of the primary goals of the landmark health care bill was to reduce and prevent medical debt-related bankruptcy filings.
Although Oregon residents enjoy a high standard of care when it comes to medical treatment, complex conditions can lead to large healthcare bills. Even people covered by medical insurance can find that an unexpected illness or injury may result in tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs, possibly leading to mounting debt and collection activities from creditors. In some cases, people find themselves facing such large amounts of medical debt that they consider filing for bankruptcy.
Medical debt may represent a significant financial challenge for some Oregon residents. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that in 2016, around 20 percent of people who were of working age and who had insurance said they struggled to pay medical bills in the past year while a 2017 study found over 40 percent said they struggled to afford the deductible.
With the high costs involved in seeking medical care, it may take little more than one sudden and unexpected trip to the hospital for an individual in Oregon to become encumbered with debt. Those who experience such emergencies may feel they are left with few options, and some may turn to a credit card for relief. However, paying medical bills with a credit card might not be the best solution, and seeking guidance on the other options available could be advisable.
While some individuals in Oregon may put off seeking medical attention due to the high costs of treatment, in some cases, a trip to the hospital may be unavoidable. In addition, avoiding care due to the possible financial ramifications may only cause a condition to deteriorate, and a relatively minor condition may end up being much worse in the end, costing far more in both time and money to treat and recover from. Regardless of how it happens, medical debt is a serious issue for many individuals, and the resulting monetary concerns can be significant.
A medical emergency can occur at any moment and could have a substantial impact on a person's health. When experiencing such an event, it may be necessary for a person in Oregon to seek treatment as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the extensive costs of treatment could leave many individuals fearing medical debt more than the threat a condition poses to their health.
For individuals in Oregon and elsewhere who are closing in on retirement age, having a plan in place for the future may be essential. However, planning for certain events, such as a medical emergency, could prove exceedingly challenging. Medical bills continue to be an issue for many individuals who have been forced to endure a similar situation, and the high costs of medical treatment could leave some in search of financial relief.