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36 percent of young adults are saddled with medical debt

Among the many sources of debt that plague Tennesseans and American consumers of all ages, medical debt is often cited as one of the most ruthless, and often the most notorious. "Notorious" because, unlike some other forms of debt, such as student loans or credit card debt, medical debt is often unexpected or is often associated with an unfortunate event.

While everyone is susceptible to debt, medical debt is often seen as belonging to the elderly, or at the very least, the aged. A new survey by the Commonwealth Fund, however, shows that nearly one-third of all young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 either has experienced medical debt problems already, or is currently paying down medical debt. This finding regarding young people, in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control study reported earlier on this blog, shows the sheer breadth of this issue.

The survey also shows that the effects debt has on the lives of young adults are substantial. According to the Commonwealth survey, 43 percent of those reporting medical debt said that they faced serious financial problems because of it. Another 32 percent of said their medical debt interfered with their ability to pay back student loans.

Others in the survey reported that their medical debt influenced big decisions in their lives, such as their education and career choices. This demonstrates that an unexpected medical episode has effects beyond the obvious implications for an individual's physical health Even more disturbing were those in the survey who said their medical debt affected their ability to purchase bare essentials, such food and rent.

If debt becomes too much to handle, it is important for Tennessee residents to consider all their options for debt relief. An attorney experienced in debt relief and bankruptcy law can help provide guidance and solutions to problems that may otherwise appear insurmountable. No one should be put in the unfortunate position to choose between buying groceries and paying off creditors for medical expenses.

Source: CBS News, "One-third of young adults face medical bill troubles, debt," Ryan Jaslow, June 8, 2012

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

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