Medical debt is on the rise here in the United States. Therefore, the need for medical debt relief is becoming — if it is not already — a primary concern for Americans. Data gathered by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) suggests that the credit reports of as many as one in five Americans contain medical debt. Like any other debt, it lowers credit scores, which can prevent Florida residents from obtaining financing for homes, cars or businesses, among other things.
Data indicates that approximately 76 percent of Florida residents have health insurance. Even so, health care costs put a serious financial strain on nearly 31 percent of Florida residents. The national average is only 26 percent.
At a time when approximately 30 percent of the state’s population is unable to afford basic needs such as food and housing, this is a crisis. Yet only three percent took advantage of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in order to find relief from their overwhelming debts, including medical bills. Many of the people who owe substantial medical expenses are elderly and/or already in financial distress.
There is no way to predict when an accident or illness will cause an individual to incur a substantial amount of medical debt. The bills are often sudden, and they typically come all at once. Most people will attempt to pay what they can even if it means exhausting their savings and/or entering into payments plans. For many people who find themselves in this situation, filing for bankruptcy could be the best way to obtain medical debt relief since few average Americans have tens of thousands of dollars available to pay these debts.
Source: npr.org, “Medical Debt Rains Pain On Families, Even In the Sunshine State“, Sammy Mack, March 17, 2016