100 Million Americans Have Medical Debt
We’re coming up on a population of about 400 million people. So, that’s one out of every four Americans who are living with medical debt. The failure of our insurance system coupled with rampant fraud and price gouging has left Americans with boatloads of debt that they cannot afford to pay off.
However, the problem isn’t as clear as it could be. While it’s true that some individuals have hospital debts filed directly against them, in a growing number of cases, we’re seeing hospital debts transferred to credit cards. So, much of the debt that Americans have is hidden behind credit cards and repayment plans. Over the past five years, over 50% of U.S. adults have reported incurring medical debt.
So, is keeping ourselves alive actually creating a system of indenturing? Not quite. Americans still have the option of declaring bankruptcy, at least on medical debt.
What is happening?
Even Americans who have saved up are running through their savings to pay for medical services. Ultimately, everything that Americans earn is being refunnelled back into the hospitals which claim they are losing money. So, we have a system that is both failing and costing too much money and no one appears to be benefiting from it.
What’s true is that Americans who are saddled with debt don’t spend money elsewhere. So, it strips other sectors of the economy of revenue and places a pinch on everyone.
Bankruptcy and medical debt
Medical debt remains one of the most likely indicators of bankruptcy. However, it remains much more likely for those under 30 than it is for those over 60. So, older Americans are getting the health care they need, it’s the younger Americans that are being driven into bankruptcy. Ultimately, this creates a situation where these younger Americans are delaying receiving treatment that they cannot afford. If they have outstanding medical bills, they can be denied treatment.
What about the Affordable Care Act?
Insurance is a common pool resource. That means that 100 people pay into a fund to protect all of them if something bad should happen to any one of them. If only one person pays into the fund, it doesn’t work. Everyone has to pay in. While the ACA required Americans to purchase insurance that specific provision was changed rendering the program functionally broken. This, ultimately, is the fallout.
The ACA no longer has the teeth to require Americans to have insurance. If the policy is only funded by those who need health care coverage, then it won’t be able to pay for that coverage. Ultimately, an insurance policy has to rely on those who may not need coverage to pay in for when they do.
Talk to a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney
The Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway can help individuals with large piles of medical debt file for bankruptcy. Call our Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyers today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing your next moves immediately.