While sources claim that the Affordable Care Act has lowered medical debt for many individuals here in Florida and across the country, many others are still struggling with it. In fact, approximately 64 million Americans struggled with this financial problem in 2014. Now, some research shows that there is a link between credit card debt and medical bills.
Even having health insurance does not seem to protect people from ending up with thousands of dollars to pay out of their own pockets. Many people are avoiding going to the doctor in order to keep from incurring medical debt. Those who are not able to do so are using their credit cards to pay their bills.
Overall, the amount of medical debt owed by many Americans has dropped significantly. Furthermore, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) has helped by significantly dropping the fees charged by credit card companies, which provides billions of dollars in savings for consumers nationwide. For the average consumer, this is good news.
However, for those who have medical emergencies or chronic illnesses, medical bills can pile up quickly. Rising prescription costs also contribute to credit card debt. In addition, many health plans do not cover dental needs, which means that many people pull out their cards in order to pay for it. Research also suggests that people who put medical costs on their credit cards are also using them to pay for basic needs such as groceries and rent because they simply do not have the income to support themselves.
Florida residents who find themselves in financial distress due to credit card debt and medical expenses might want to consider filing for bankruptcy. These debts are often discharged, which can free up income for other expenses such as basic needs. Bankruptcy can provide a filer with many benefits, but the process can be complex and should not be attempted without legal representation.
Source: salon.com, “The medical debt crisis: The prognosis is still dire for Americans struggling to pay off massive health care bills“, Sean McElwee, Aug. 14, 2016