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Why many cancer survivors end up facing bankruptcy

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2016 | Debt Relief

Everyone knows that medical treatment can be very expensive, even for patients who have medical insurance. This is especially true for cancer patients as new cancer therapies are now between $10,000 and $60,000.

As a result, many cancers survivors end up facing a second battle: debt. Making matters worse is that fact that cancer treatment is becoming more expensive. In fact, according to a new study, cancer care costs have increased two to three times as fast as other healthcare expenses.

A third of cancer survivors who were between the ages of 18 and 64 ended up in debt, and in more than half of these cases, the debt was greater than $10,000, the study showed. The researchers found that 3 percent of the cancer survivors ended up filing for bankruptcy.

In trying to get a better understanding of how medical costs affect cancer patients, a physician with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research analyzed survey data collected in 2012 from close to 5,000 cancer survivors.

As NBC News reported, cancer survivors who were younger, lower income and depended on public health insurance were left with greater debt burdens and were more likely to file for bankruptcy, according to the study.

Cancer patients often have to miss work in order to receive treatment and recover, which can be very difficult on younger and lower-income workers who might not have paid time off to use.

Anytime an illness such as cancer leaves an individual or family with significant debt, it would be wise to meet with a bankruptcy attorney to talk about possible debt-relief options. Talk to an attorney before using retirement funds to pay medical expenses. In our area, lawsuits to collect medical bills are not common.  Bankruptcy can be an effective way to get rid of medical bill debt, but there are other courses of action available as well.