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Medical debt leaves patients with pay or die options

There are many reasons that people file for bankruptcy and not all of them are within our control as consumers. For instance, one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the United States is not the excessive purchasing of luxury goods, but medical expenses. Medical debt is a plague on household income not only because of the astronomical cost of health care, but because it is more often than not necessary, leaving consumer with few alternatives.

Tennessee readers who have suffered from serious illnesses may be familiar with pay or die. Pay or die is when a patient must pay regardless of the costs or burdens they will sustain in order to receive necessary care or else they face death. According to the Journal of the American Society of Hematology, pay or die is all too real a phenomenon. In fact, the journal recently noted that drug prices for certain cancers are leaving many patients either undertreated or untreated.

Today, the average American pays approximately 20 percent of their drug prices out of their own pocket. One of the reason that experts argue drug prices are so high in the U.S is the slow pace at which the Federal Drug Administration approves new drugs. For instance, the FDA approved just 12 new cancer drugs in 2012, 11 of which cost consumers more than $100,000 per year. This is not a very realistic financial option for most medical patients.

Regardless of the reasons, no one suffering from an unexpected medical condition should be forced into poverty just to pay for medical care. Rather than suffering in silence, individuals struggling with financial challenges due to medical debt should know that debt relief options exist. From debt elimination and filing for bankruptcy to negotiating repayment plans for unmanageable debt, there are many options for those in need of immediate relief.

Source: St. Cloud Times, "Costs of drugs force sick into bankruptcy, or worse," Linda Larson, May 8, 2013

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

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