Study - more struggling with medical bill debt
A study recently found that more people are struggling with medical debts.
If you are contemplating bankruptcy, chances are it is because you have significant amounts of medical debt, since this type of debt is the leading cause of bankruptcies. Although the Affordable Care Act is in effect, many people in Illinois and beyond continue to struggle with medical bills. According to the most recent data, increases in healthcare costs and high deductibles are the main reason for this.
Healthcare costs continue to increase
According to a study by TransUnion Healthcare, the cost of medical procedures continues to increase along with insurance deductibles. Some of the findings of the study included:
• During 2013 to 2014, the average medical expense consumers faced climbed 11 percent.
• During the same time, average deductibles increased seven percent
• The number of consumers that could pay for common procedures, such as joint replacements, C-Sections and births decreased 11 percent.
Aside from these shocking findings, the study found that, although increases in healthcare costs were overall less dramatic between 2013 and 2014 than in previous years, consumers were on the hook for a greater percentage of medical costs. The main reason for this was because of high-deductible insurance plans. According to the study, the average cost of deductibles has more than doubled over the past five years.
In addition to deductible increases, more patients than ever are insured by high-deductible plans. According to a report by USA Today, the number of employees with such plans increased to 23 percent during 2014 alone. As a result, these employees can find themselves financially liable for thousands of dollars when they require an emergency medical procedure, which can push their finances to the breaking point.
To complicate matters, the amount of credit available to the average consumer is decreasing. When the TransUnion Healthcare study compared the amount of credit available to consumers with average out-of-pocket medical expenses, it was found that the average amount of credit available to consumers with good credit to pay for medical procedures decreased by 13 percent during 2014.
Speak with an attorney
Sadly, if this trend continues, more consumers than ever are potentially going to face financially ruinous medical expenses. Fortunately, bankruptcy can help consumers rid themselves of this type of debt. In Chapter 7, this type of debt, along with most unsecured debts, is completely dischargeable. Also, consumers filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can discharge most of their medical debts after paying only pennies on the dollar towards them, in most cases.
To learn more about how bankruptcy can help you, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. An attorney can review the bankruptcy process with you and work to get you back on financial track.
At Illini Legal Services, we offer a free, no-obligation consultation to each of our clients. During your consultation, we will take the time to listen to your financial concerns and assess your case and individual situation. We have five locations to serve you. Contact us today for help!
Illini Legal Services is engaged in the private practice of law and is not a public legal aid agency. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.