At some point in just about everyone's life, health problems arise. They are worse for some people then they are for others. Physical issues both big and small can cost a lot to treat. Most people in Louisiana and elsewhere are not economically prepared to cover unexpected medical expenses. What can you do if health problems leave you struggling financially?
Certain debt relief options can help you with medical and other debts. Bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, is just one option. There may be others depending on your particular circumstances.
How bad is the medical debt crisis in this country?
According to a recent article, 530,000 bankruptcies per year stem from health problems. That accounts for approximately two-thirds of all bankruptcy cases filed in any given year. Medical issues are, according to a survey from the American Journal of Public Health, the number one reason people file for bankruptcy.
A professor at City University of New York's Hunter College says that those who are not extremely well off financially are one serious medical condition away from complete financial ruin. Insurance can help, to some extent, but it is usually not enough. Additionally, there are no guarantees that you will be able to keep insurance throughout the course of your treatment.
It is not just about the medical bills
While medical debt can be a lot on its own, debt from health-related issues does not come from just medical bills. Some people are unable to keep working because of their physical ailments, meaning they lose their income. Those with employer-sponsored health insurance plans also lose that. Income and insurance loss only compounds the problem, making it difficult for people to meet all of their financial obligations, such as:
- Paying their mortgage or rent
- Keeping student loans current
- Paying credit card bills
- Covering auto loans
When money is not coming in, it obviously cannot go out to keep accounts current.
When to ask for help
There is no need to wait until your situation is so dire that you feel you have no options. If you are struggling financially due to medical and other debts resulting from a personal or family member health crisis, the sooner you figure out the best way to tackle your situation the better. Through bankruptcy or other debt relief options, your debts may be cleared or reduced, which would allow you to focus on rebuilding your wealth rather than worry about accommodating creditor demands.