Medical bills are very expensive in the United States. Those who do not have insurance could find themselves facing overwhelming debt almost immediately. But even those who have insurance could find out that it doesn’t cover the full costs, that some of the services were out of their network or that they still can’t afford all of the procedures that they need.
As a result, some reports have labeled medical debt as the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Part of the reason for this is how quickly the debt can be accumulated. Credit card debt, by contrast, tends to accumulate over time. It may take someone years to build up enough debt that they realize they can’t afford it. But one medical procedure could mean that, in the span of just a few days, that person is suddenly looking at a larger bill than they ever imagined. They immediately know that they’re not going to be able to pay it back.
This doesn’t mean medical debt is the only reason
Even though medical debt is a leading reason for bankruptcy, this often just means that it is part of the bankruptcy process. In other words, the people have debt that they can’t afford, and they list off all the different debts that are included when they file. Medical debt is the most common thing to show up on these lists, but it is not exclusively the reason for the bankruptcy filing.
What often happens is that it simply pushes someone over the edge. They may already have been struggling to make ends meet with their mortgage, their credit card bills and all of their other costs. But adding significant medical charges is what shows them that they need to look for another option.
In many cases, that option is bankruptcy. If you’re interested in how this may be beneficial for you, take the time to look into all the options you have.