For the last few years, numerous studies have linked the relationship between medical debt and bankruptcy filings. Just a few short years ago, 62% of personal Texas bankruptcy filings were caused by undue hardship brought on by medical bills. Further, 78% of those who filed for a medical debt discharge actually had health insurance. So what’s going on?
Despite having health insurance coverage, the fact remains that most of the coverage available in recent years is less than sufficient to cover the expenses related to a chronic or major emergency medical treatment. For example, the average American family makes $50,000 in income, but also carries a higher-deductible health insurance plan. With out of pocket maximums $5,000 or more per calendar year, footing the bill for medical treatment for a trip to the emergency room for a minor break or stitches can easily push those put-of-pocket expenses. When it comes down to disposable monthly income on a $50,000 a year salary, medical expenses costing $2,500 or more can quickly put a family in a tough spot financially.
When you consider our aging population these costs get much worse. Living on a limited income and often already carrying some medical debt around for routine and preventative treatments, any out of the ordinary medical need can quickly eat into their already miniscule budget. It isn’t uncommon for families or the elderly to take second liens on their homes, or sell equity in attempt to cover medical costs. Once secured assets and possessions get involved, the slope turns into a slippery slide of dire consequences.
While it is unfortunate that our health care coverage in this country struggles to provide adequate coverage at a price we can afford and medical treatment costs rise quicker than we can utilize them, there is hope. Bankruptcy does offer a way out of endless medical bills and can put a stop to those outrageous out-of-pocket maximums that follow us into next year. Speak with a Texas bankruptcy lawyer about your options for eliminating medical bills through debt relief options.