Medical debt remains a problem for Florida patients

On behalf of Bankruptcy Law Firm of Clare Casas on Friday, February 21, 2014.

Experts are of the opinion that the Affordable Care Act will not solve one of the biggest problems in the U.S., namely filing for bankruptcy due to outstanding medical debt. Although the Act increases the possibility of health care to many, it is not expected to decrease medical bankruptcies across the USA, including Florida. A study conducted in 2013 by NerdWallet Health indicated that the biggest cause for bankruptcy filing will be medical debt, not credit card or mortgage debt.

One might expect medical bankruptcies to be something which only happens to patients without health insurance. However, this is not typically the case. Research has shown that 78 percent of patients who decided to file for bankruptcy because of outstanding medical debt had health insurance.

It would appear that the problem has two components. Not only is the patient faced with high medical costs but also with other related costs such as co-payments, travels related costs, loss of wages, etc. When one considers the aforementioned in conjunction with the fact that medical costs have been increasing well above the inflation rate, it is no surprise that many patients are forced to file for bankruptcy due to outstanding medical debt.

Patients of Florida faced with insurmountable medical debt may opt to file for either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy depending on their individual circumstances. Although, filing for personal bankruptcy is not without negative consequences, such as the influence it has on the filer's credit record and the emotional aspect it has, it does offer relief. However, it is important to ensure a thorough understanding of an individual's rights under the law. Having this understanding of applicable bankruptcy laws can ensure that the person filing for personal bankruptcy does so with their eyes open, clearly understanding all available options.

Source: Fox Business, Medical Bankruptcies are Still a Problem, Here's What to Expect, Donna Fuscaldo, Feb. 18, 2014

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