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Bankruptcy as an option for medical expenses

Ohio residents who may be considering bankruptcy due to medical debt should know that they are not alone. These types of obligations continue to be the leading cause of bankruptcy filings, and one big reason for this is the cost of prescription medicine. Unfortunately, neither having health insurance nor the broad implementation of the Affordable Care Act necessarily prevents this from happening.

Sometimes, insurance options are difficult for the consumer to understand, and choosing what looks like the cheaper option due to a low deductible or lesser coverage costs more out-of-pocket in the long run. Other times, people prioritize paying their medical bills and run up credit card debt to cover other necessities without realizing there may have been room to negotiate. Some insurance companies are asking the customer to bear increasingly large co-payments. Whatever the reason, people are finding themselves deeply in debt not through financial irresponsibility but simply due to trying to stay healthy.

Using Medicare may result in high out-of-pocket costs as well. Furthermore, people who are switching plans sometimes do not realize the actual cost of their medication, and if the new plan is not as comprehensive, they can be shocked by the amount they must pay regularly if they have a chronic illness.

Bankruptcy may be the only option for some families and individuals overwhelmed by medical bills. One advantage of bankruptcy is that it may give a fresh start to individuals who have accumulated more debt than they can pay in a reasonable amount of time. People who are facing a great deal of medical debt may wish to visit an attorney to discuss the financial options and whether bankruptcy is an available course of action.

Source: CNBC, "Medication costs fuel painful medical debt, bankruptcies", Dan Mangan, May 28, 2014

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