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Medical debt often goes hand in hand with credit card debt

Despite efforts by various presidential administrations to help Americans obtain quality, affordable health care, millions of people in Tennessee and across the country are underinsured or uninsured. Additionally, 64 million Americans are burdened with medical debt. In fact, medical debt is the primary reason for bankruptcy in the United States.

While overall medical debt has declined by about 18 percent in recent years, it does not take much time for medical expenses to get out of control. Even when people have insurance, they may often face out-of-pocket expenses that add up quickly. For example, since many insurance plans do not cover dental visits, some people put those payments on their credit cards. One survey showed that more than half of people who make trips to the emergency room end up charging that cost also.

Other costs that seem to end up on credit card bills include hospital stays and prescription medication. Once a person has health care charges on a credit card statement, he or she is likely to postpone seeking treatment or filling a prescription. In fact, 63 percent of people surveyed admitted skipping trips to the doctor or stopping medication because they already owed too much. On average, people who use credit cards to pay for medical expenses carry almost $4,000 more credit card debt than those who do not.

Although there are federal reforms and options being discussed, for now, those thousands of people in Tennessee and beyond who are burdened with medical debt often feel they must deal with it on their own. However, turning to an attorney for help is another option some people choose. An experienced lawyer helps people examine the options for debt relief and discuss plans that will help them get back on their feet again.

Source: alternet.org, "The Medical Debt Crisis: The Prognosis Is Still Dire for Americans Struggling to Stave Off Massive Health Care Bills", Sean McElwee, Aug. 14, 2016

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