If your family is struggling to pay medical bills, you are not alone. According to a recent survey, 1 in 5 American households has difficulty keeping up with medical debt.
In fact, the survey showed that half of those who have difficulty paying these bills say they are unable to pay anything at all.
The survey was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year. It encompassed 52,000 people. It may have been the largest study ever done on the subject of medical debt.
An independent research organization called the Center for Studying Health System Change had previously reported the figure of 1 in 5 for struggles with medical debt.
Surprisingly, the percentage does not seem to have risen since 2007. At first glance, that is hard to understand. After all, millions of people lost their jobs and their health insurance during the Recession.
Experts who study the issue think they know why the 1 in 5 figure has remained stable, despite all the economic fallout. Many people have cut way back on medical care - going to the doctor less, buying fewer prescriptions, and so on.
When a major illness does occur, however, the result can be medical bills that devastate a family's finances. You can't just put everything off until you're forced to go to an emergency room.
If you've had to take on medical debt that you don't know how to pay for, talk with a debt settlement attorney. It makes sense to consider all your debt relief options, including filing for bankruptcy.
Source: "1 in 5 US families say the struggle to pay medical bills; half say they can't pay a cent"
Washington Post, 3-6-12