Elton Jenkins Law, P.L.L.C.

Despite ACA, bankruptcy due to medical bills still prevalent

Facing financial issues is often a worry of most people. Unfortunately, even individuals who seem financially secure or believe that their debt is not out of control could suddenly face substantial money issues if medical problems arise. In fact, medical debt remains the number one cause of bankruptcy filings in the United States.

Recent reports indicate that despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act, medical expenses continue to plague individuals in Oklahoma and across the country. The ACA provides resources for more people to obtain insurance coverage and access to care, but a study reviewing bankruptcy filings found that the proportions of bankruptcies resulting from medical-related expenses did not improve. The Consumer Bankruptcy Project had previously found that 65.5 percent of personal bankruptcies from 2001 to 2007 stemmed from medical expenses, and their more recent study, which looked at the years from 2013 to 2016, showed that the percentage was 67.5 percent.

Unfortunately, lacking the necessary insurance coverage significantly influences the negative financial impacts of medical expenses. In fact, approximately 530,000 households file for bankruptcy every year because of medical bills or financial issues resulting from illness. Even if parties have insurance and believe their costs will be covered, many deductibles and other loopholes prevent them from receiving the financial assistance they thought they could obtain.

Though this issue affects numerous people, it is a very personal experience to go through. If Oklahoma residents are struggling financially due to overwhelming medical bills or other financial issues, they may want to consider gaining information on bankruptcy. This debt relief option can often prove beneficial, and understanding the qualifications and steps involved may help interested parties make informed decisions about whether to move forward with this route.

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