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Many families in the U.S. struggle with medical debt

 Posted on June 14, 2021 in Bankruptcy

The year 2020 was a tough economic time for many in Geneva, especially if they were furloughed or lost their jobs. This financial predicament was only escalated when they acquired a significant amount of medical debt that they have no means of paying back. They are not alone. According to U.S. Census Bureau data many families have problems with medical debt.

What is considered medical debt?

In 2017, 19% of households in the U.S. had some type of medical debt. Medical debt was defined as costs people could not pay up front or when they were treated. Of households carrying medical debt in 2017, the median amount of medical debt was $2,000. When households had significant medical debt, they may not have been able to afford the essentials such as food, utilities or their rent or mortgage. Moreover, medical debt forced some families to forgo necessary medical care because they could not afford it. Some people even filed for bankruptcy due to unmanageable medical debt.

Health insurance may not cover all costs

While having health insurance helps pay for medical costs, even those with health insurance could still incur medical debt. While only 16.2% of households in which all family members were insured for the entire year had medical debt, 30.8% of households where all family members were not fully insured had medical debt. The median amount of medical debt for households with full insurance was $2,000. The median amount of medical debt for households without full insurance was $3,000. As this shows, even families who have health insurance struggle with medical debt.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be an option

Those in Geneva who are facing overwhelming medical debt that negatively affects every area of their lives may want to learn more about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Also referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy,” in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy a person's non-exempt assets are sold to pay back their creditors. This usually includes medical debt owed. Once the liquidation process is through, many (but not always all) of a person's remaining debts will be wiped clean. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm's webpage on bankruptcy may be a useful resource for those who want to learn more about this topic.

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