Sudden financial disasters certainly contribute to some people’s money issues, but this is not always the case. Many Florida residents struggle with the slow accumulation of small bills that eventually snowballs into something much larger and more difficult to handle. For those considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it might have been a relatively small medical bill that pushed them in that direction.
A group of researchers conducted a study on 2016 credit reports for over four million people. They found that around 2 percent of all adults that year had collection agencies come after them for medical debts that were less than $200. Around half of all of that year’s medical collections were for bills under $600. While these are not the hefty, thousand-dollar debts most people associate with financial troubles, they certainly seemed to have an impact on debtors.
Adults close to 30 years of age were the most likely to have past-due medical bills sent to collection agencies, with a rate three times higher than that of patients in their 60s. Although older patients typically have more health care needs, they also usually qualify for Medicare. Increased access to health insurance might also explain the 40 percent decrease in medical debt between the ages of 27 and 64.
No one should forgo necessary medical care because of a lack of funds, but many people in Florida struggle with the hefty debts they typically incur. It can also be incredibly frightening when these debts are turned over to collection agencies, which often engage in harassment to try and force patients to pay bills they simply cannot afford. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not only effective at discharging these debts, but it also puts an immediate halt to collection efforts.