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Bad healthcare provider lists increase bankruptcy risks

As the health insurance marketplace is open once again, you might find yourself re-evaluating your plan for 2017. You're likely checking the provider's list twice to ensure that the care you receive is both trusted and close to home.

Before you find yourself in need of care, it is imperative that the provider you choose is actually covered by your health plan. Consumers today are finding that the directories related to healthcare providers and insurance are often inaccurate or outdated. One study by Medical Mutual of Ohio found that only 15 percent of primary care doctors in a network were actually taking on new patients.

Are you prepared to handle a medical emergency?

Rapidly rising costs of health insurance have caused some providers to opt-out of coverage, but lists have not been updated to reflect those changes. Even for those with insurance, what you thought was just a co-pay could turn into an expensive medical bill.

A study by Bankrate.com says 63 percent of Americans have no emergency savings to cover a $1,000 medical bill. Further, medical expenses account for 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies, even though three out of four who filed for this reason had health insurance coverage.

Consumers may be left alone to fight the problem

Because the inaccuracy of lists is a relatively new problem to the health insurance industry, no comprehensive data exists on the subject. Ohio consumers are left to report problems with directories, but the state government may not have the resources to fix the issue promptly.

If you do not take the proper steps to ensure your coverage is correct and your savings are in order, you could soon find yourself in dire financial straits. Even those who take the most care with their coverage may not be prepared to handle the unexpected, but that doesn't mean you have to be a victim of circumstance.

If you are unable to pay your medical bills, it may be time to speak to a legal professional who can provide compassionate and integrity-driven advice regarding your financial situation.

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