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Medical debt now the #1 reason why Americans file for bankruptcy

It’s probably safe to say that no one in Cuyahoga Falls ever anticipates having to file for bankruptcy. Most work very hard at establishing good money management skills. Yet no one can anticipate a major medical emergency such as a serious accident or an extended battle with illness. The expenses associated with dealing with medical issues can quickly add up, turning one’s rosy financial outlook into a bleak nightmare.

Studies now show that medical debt has surpassed home mortgages and credit card debt as the most common reason why Americans seek bankruptcy protection. A common misconception that exists concerning the handling of medical debt is that those who struggle with it only do so because they don’t have health insurance. Yet recent statistics have shown that over three quarters of those forced to file for bankruptcy due to medical expenses carried health insurance.

It’s often in the unanticipated expenses that make dealing with medical debt so challenging. While a health insurance policy may cover one’s medical bills, it can’t compensate for lost wages from missed work or the decreased earning capacity one may be left with following a medical problem. So while personal finances may be what drives a person into debt, they’re often placed in that position because of medical issues.

Still, experts recommend that one carefully consider the ramifications of filing for bankruptcy due to medical problems. Such a decision can have long-lasting effects. Yet for those drowning in medical debt or the other expenses that accompany it, bankruptcy can help to provide a clean slate to help in rebuilding their financial lives. Those needing to explore this option may wish to seek the services of a bankruptcy attorney.

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

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