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Why Medical Debt is Driving Many Americans to File for Bankruptcy

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Pretty much every American will face some type of debt at least once in their life. From student loans to credit card payments, debt is simply a fact of life.

But for those of us who don’t have a health insurance policy, astronomical hospital bills can cause another type of debt — medical debt. And for a growing amount of people, the only way to get respite from this crushing debt is to seek out a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney for help with filing bankruptcy.

According to The Atlantic, an incredible 40% of Americans currently owe creditors money that they needed to borrow for seeking out medical treatment. American adults are also the most likely group of people among other developed nations to struggle with the costs of medical care or completely forgo the healthcare they need because of its cost.

Even more alarming? The fact that medical debt is now the No. 1 reason why people file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy help, surpassing even student loans, according to The Atlantic.

Why are so many people struggling with their medical bills? Part of the reason stems from hospital errors; the NerdWallet study found that almost half of Medicare insurance claims contained billing errors of some kind.

Another reason is the huge variance in the amount that hospitals charge for the same procedures, The Atlantic reports. For an inpatient stay to treat intestinal bleeding, a patient in California would be charged an astronomical $291,000. For patients in Arkansas, the same treatment would cost $5,400.

This huge range of hospital costs makes it nearly impossible for people to anticipate how much their medical bills might be or to prepare for the cost of their care. As a result, people are often thrown into debt for seeking out the care they need to survive.

And in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all this debt can be cast off in court — but at a price. Even with the best Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, filing a bankruptcy still dramatically impacts one’s credit score and requires the filer to give up some of their property and belongings to the bank.

Even with these costs, it’s clear that filing for bankruptcy is the only option many people have to get out of crushing medical debt.

Do you have medical debt that you can’t afford to pay off? Have you considered bankruptcy because of it? Share your experiences with us in the comments below. Read more blogs like this.

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