There are so many forms of debt out there that it can be hard to keep track of them all. Credit card debt, mortgages, car loans, student loans, medical debt — the list goes on and on. But today let’s talk about that last one we mentioned. Medical debt is a huge problem for millions of Americans, and it doesn’t appear to be getting any better.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in 2014 there were roughly 43 million Americans with overdue medical bills on their credit reports. What’s more is that roughly half of all overdue debt on credit reports was medical debt. This is a serious problem.
One of the contributing factors to this medical debt problem goes back to the income inequality issue that has been a prominent point of discussion in recent years. According to a study by NerdWallet, over the last decade median household income has increased by 20 percent, but medical costs have gone up 34 percent during the same window of time. That marks the largest cost increase for spending categories in the study.
Obviously, there’s nothing people can do when a medical emergency springs on them. There will be serious medical costs associated with such an event. But common, everyday medical costs are getting out of hand, and people aren’t able to financially cope with it.
This is where a bankruptcy can be incredibly helpful. Medical debt is not exempt from the discharge process, meaning that it can be cleared out through a bankruptcy filing.
Source: Investopedia, “Why People with Good Health Insurance Go into Medical Debt,” Amy Fontinelle, Dec. 11, 2017