For some reason, New Yorkers and others often think medical debt is somehow protected from bankruptcy. This is completely untrue.
“Medical bankruptcies” are sadly quite common, and worse, they grew in the last decade. The American Journal of Medicine proved as much when it published research covering medical bankruptcies between 2001 and 2007. Here’s what the researchers found.
(1) Growth in medical bankruptcies amounted to 866,000 filings, from 49.6% to 62.1% filings.
(2) People paid an average of $17,943 out of pocket for their medical expenses, even though 77.9% of them actually had health insurance.
(3) The filers’ demographics surprised the researchers. Contrary to what they thought, medical bankruptcies happen to middle class Americans and not just lower class ones. 66.4% owned their homes, many worked middle class occupations, 20% included an veteran or active duty soldier, and 60.3% attended college.
(4) By far the largest expense was for hospital bills (48%), then medications (19%), doctors bills (15%), and insurance premiums (4%).
If you’re considering filing bankruptcy in New York, there are a few thoughts to take from the American Journal of Medicine’s findings.
First, medical bankruptcy is common and not something to be ashamed about. No one is irresponsible for taking care of their health.
Second, while we hope the recent health care reform will reduce medical costs, regular insurance coverage may not be enough to protect Americans from medical bills that they cannot afford to pay.
In these circumstances, bankruptcy is a necessary option for New Yorkers. If an injury or illness costs you more than you can afford to pay, you do not need to suffer needlessly. An experienced New York bankruptcy attorney canl help you discuss your options.