Bankruptcy Due to Medical Bills
Financial troubles are one of the most common concerns that Americans have on a regular basis. Medical issues are right up there among most people’s worries. Unfortunately, having a serious medical complication, due to an injury or illness, often results in serious financial trouble as well. If you have suffered a traumatic injury, illness, or other medical complication that has caused you crippling debt, bankruptcy may be the right choice. For hundreds of thousands of Americans, filing bankruptcy due to piling medical bills is the only way out.
Sixty-Two Percent of Bankruptcies Are Caused in Part by Medical Bills
According to CNN, roughly 1.5 million Americans file for bankruptcy each year. Moreover, over half of those people file bankruptcy due to a medical reason. From 2001 to 2007, Harvard researchers found that bankruptcies due to medical bills increased by almost 50 percent, growing from 46 percent of all bankruptcies to 62 percent by 2007. The report, published in The American Journal of Medicine, surveyed 2,314 people who had filed for bankruptcy in 2007 to get its findings. The average family has $17,943 in out-of-pocket medical expense.
Even having insurance does not safeguard a family or individual from bankruptcy. According to the lead author of the study, Steffie Woolhandler, M.D.,"Unless you're a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you're one illness away from financial ruin in this country. If an illness is long enough and expensive enough, private insurance offers very little protection against medical bankruptcy, and that's the major finding in our study. More than three out of four people (78 percent) surveyed in the study had medical insurance at the time of their health complication."
With the Affordable Care Act on the line for repeal, millions more Americans may lose their health insurance, while others are forced to pay thousands or even tens of thousands more for coverage. While health insurance cannot prevent bankruptcy in every case, as the study clearly outlines, a lack of coverage further increases a person’s or family’s chances of having to file for medical bankruptcy.
Cost of Surgery
Overall, total U.S. health care spending in 2011 was $2.7 trillion. The average hospital visit per day was $3,949, while the average stay cost $15,734. Simple procedures and amenities can easily rack up into the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, such as X-rays, blood work, doctor and specialist fees, pre- and post-surgery expenses, and medications. Surgeries themselves can cost tens of thousands of dollars. In 2005, the average back surgery cost $26,515. Coronary artery bypass surgery cost, on average $45,438. Costs vary greatly depending on the doctor, facility, and location, with California’s highest priced region charging 2.7 times more for the same surgery as the lowest priced region.
Contact a Lawyer at Once
Bankruptcy may be the best option for you and your family. Contact the San Jose bankruptcy attorneys at the office of Gemma V. Reyes for help today.