Report: Bankruptcies Due To Medical Bills Will Impact 1.7 Million Americans In 2013
Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 22, 2013 – A new study predicts medical bills will force bankruptcies in the households of 1.7 million Americans in 2013.
NerdWallet Health, a consumer finance website, compiled a series of statistical estimates of the impact this year of rising health care costs. The report says Florida will account for the third-highest total of medical-related bankruptcies in the nation, with nearly 100,000 such filings.
“Medical bills are very frequently one of the primary reasons – and often the sole reason – that individuals declare bankruptcy,” said Tampa bankruptcy attorney O. Reginald Osenton. “And that is only becoming more common as those costs continue to rise.”
The authors of the NerdWallet report used a national Harvard study from 2009 that estimates that 57.1 percent of all bankruptcies are due to medical bills. They combined that with statistics from the U.S. bankruptcy courts covering filings through March 2013.
The study also predicts that 56 million Americans under age 65 will struggle to pay their medical bills this year, 17 million will suffer a lower credit rating because of high bills, and 15 million will use all of their savings to pay their medical expenses.
Those with health insurance tend to fare better than those who are uninsured, and many hope that the individual mandate for health insurance coverage contained in the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, will help to reduce the rate of medical bankruptcies. But Christina LaMontagne, vice president of NerdWallet Health, said that insurance is no guarantee of financial solvency and pointed out that the study estimates 10 million Americans with health insurance will be unable to pay their medical bills this year.
LaMontagne said she was troubled by another of the report’s findings: more than 25 million Americans will not take their prescription medications according to doctors’ instructions in an effort to save money. This includes taking smaller doses, skipping doses, and delaying refills.
“Generally speaking, people should purchase the best health insurance coverage they can afford.” added Osenton, “That can prevent a lot of financial hardship. For those struggling to pay their medical bills, bankruptcy can be the logical choice to get their financial lives back in order.”
Osenton Law Office, PA
500 Lithia Pinecrest Road
Brandon, Florida 33511
Call: (813) 654-5777
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