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Study shows 20 percent of Americans have medical debt issues

The economic recession has impacted nearly every person in Tennessee in some way. Many people have lost their jobs or have acquired a significant amount of debt that they are unable to pay. At the same time, the cost of health care has been rising steadily. Medical issues can strike anyone, no matter their financial standing, which is why a recently released study shows that one in five Americans struggle to pay back their medical debt. The fear of acquiring too much medical-related debt has even led some to consider refusing medical care.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an extensive survey that gages American's ability to pay back medical bills. This survey is the first time the agency has included questions about medical debt in their annual survey of over 50,000 people. More unsettling than the number of Americans grappling with medical bills is the finding that half of those who responded indicated that they are unable to pay off any amount of medical debt.

The survey's revelations suggest that a lot of Americans are in need of debt relief or ways to manage their medical debt. Fortunately, there are legal routes for Tennessee families to get their debt under control. For some, filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the most viable option. In personal bankruptcy proceedings, individuals may have the ability to discharge all of their unsecured debt under the protection of a court. This can be a way to get out of debt, rebuild your personal credit rating and work toward a more secure future.

In response to the CDC's findings, another organization that has been investigating medical debt levels for a number of years pointed out that just as many Americans were struggling with medical bills in 2007. One potential reason that the numbers haven't adjusted upward over recent years is that people are making the choice to turn down medical care in order to stave off serious debt. Tennessee families should not be put in the impossible position to decide between necessary medical treatment and putting themselves in a precarious financial state.

Source: The Washington Post, "1 in 5 US families say they struggle to pay medical bills; half say they can't pay a cent," Mar. 6, 2012

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

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