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Southern states struggle with high rates of medical bankruptcies

The effect of medical expenses and healthcare costs on the financial stability of many American families is astonishing. While it has been reported on multiple occasions that medical debt is a leading cause of filing for bankruptcy, the actual numbers rarely get discussed. A recent study, however, looked at both the U.S. numbers of medical debt bankruptcy filings as well as the rate of bankruptcies in neighboring Mississippi.

According to NerdWallet, a personal finance and credit card comparison website, 56 million Americans are just barely scraping together enough money to pay medical expenses. While the effect of medical debts on Tennessee residents has been discussed in the past, the study also looked at Tennessee's southern friend, Mississippi. The study noted that more than half of Mississippians who file do so because of medical bills.

The study on trends in Tennessee's southern neighbor lends support to what this blog has reported on for some time, the strong connection between medical debt and filing for bankruptcy. What is worse is that for many consumers the trend is not getting better. Furthermore, it is not limited to those who lack health insurance or savings. In fact, over 15 million Americans are draining their savings to pay medical costs.

The effects of an unexpected medical condition can be difficult. In addition to taking care of their health, many patients are burdened with medical expenses. What is important to remember, however, is that many Americans are struggling with this same problem, and that there is an answer. If medical bills and financial challenges become too much it may be time to get a fresh financial start by filing for bankruptcy.

Source: Clarion Ledger, "Medical bankruptcy claims rising as residents struggle to pay bills," Jerry Mitchell, Oct. 5, 2013

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