Learning that you have a medical issue that needs immediate attention can be frightening. You may worry what the situation may mean for your health, your family and other aspects of your life. After learning about available treatment and moving forward with the most effective option, you may have felt some semblance of relief that the problem was addressed. Of course, that feeling may have been short lived once you received your medical bills.
Americans continue to feel the weight of rising healthcare costs. The cost of obtaining healthcare is especially high for residents of Wisconsin. The cost of healthcare in the state is the second highest in the nation behind Alaska. The cost of 235 common medical services in Wisconsin was 81 percent higher than the national average.
Last time, we looked briefly at the increased incidence of medical debt collection litigation in states with low court filing fees. As we mentioned, debt collection litigation can be very difficult and disruptive to debtors, but it is something that can be addressed in the bankruptcy process.
Last time, we began looking at recent information gleaned from a poll conducted in Florida regarding the connection between medical debt, financial difficulties and bankruptcy. As we noted, even those with health insurance are not protected from financial hardship caused by medical debt and we know that bankruptcy is among the most common forms of debt cited in bankruptcy filings.
Medical care is considered a necessity, a basic cost of living, in the same way that food, clothing and shelter are consider basic needs. Unfortunately, medical care can be very costly, especially those who are still without insurance or who have high premiums and high deductibles. As many Americans have learned from difficult experience, though, even insurance doesn't guarantee protection against financial ruin induced by medical bills.
Many people in Wisconsin are not prepared for the costs of medical procedures. While a visit to an emergency room can cost as much as $700, a hospital can charge up to $10,000 for labor and delivery of a baby, and thousands of dollars can be charged for surgical procedures. However, it is not common knowledge that these fees can be negotiated. The Commonwealth Fund conducted a survey that indicated that 64 million Americans are battling overwhelming medical debt.
We’ve been looking in recent posts at the issue of medical debt, and about addressing this debt in bankruptcy. As we noted last time, determining which form of bankruptcy is best for a medical debtor requires an examination of a variety of factors.
In our last post, we mentioned that medical bills are among the leading causes of bankruptcy, and that simply having health insurance doesn’t necessarily protect one from crushing medical debt. For those who do struggle with medical debt, bankruptcy can provide necessary relief. Obviously, debtors need to consider the consequences of filing for bankruptcy, but they should also realize that, at a certain point, bankruptcy is going to help improve their situation.
Health is wealth, the saying goes. Equally as true is the saying, health takes wealth. With the continually increasing costs of health care, health insurance is becoming more and more of a necessity. Fortunately, more Americans are purchasing health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act, which is allowing more people to receive the medical care they need.
Medical problems never come at a good time. You may have been planning a big vacation. Or worse, you may have been on vacation. One day, you don't feel well. You visit a doctor or go to the emergency room and they perform some tests. They determine you have an infection and prescribe some antibiotics. Your return home, but you do not really feel you are getting any better.