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Medical expenses comprise large portion of credit card debt

Growing levels of medical debt have been on the radar of economic observers for quite some time. Many individuals in the Chattanooga area face unexpected ailments that need to be treated. These individuals find themselves saddled with medical bills and related charges that, which a large number of individuals are unable to pay. Paying medical expenses with a credit card may be an individual's only option.

A recent survey reveals that a significant portion of credit card debt stems from medical bills. More than 50% of low-income and moderate-income level households carry such debt on their credit cards. Although credit card debt is declining overall, medical debt continues to contribute credit card debt in a major way. The survey found that medical debt on credit cards averaged $1,678.

The survey also revealed that households with medical debt on their credit cards accumulated a median of $800 in credit card debt. Many of the individuals surveyed admitted to foregoing some forms of medical treatment in an effort to reduce their medical expenses.

A person with an unexpected medical condition may be unable to work during their recovery period. As a result, many individuals become burdened with unmanageable debt. Filing for bankruptcy is an option for individuals with unmanageable debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides debt relief for medical debt, largely through the liquidation of a portion of the debtor's property.

However, filing for bankruptcy does not offer relief for certain debts, including student loans, child support obligations and, in some instances, tax debts. For those individuals with unmanageable debt from medical expenses, credit cards or other debts, seeking the advice of a bankruptcy professional will allow you to examine whether or not Chapter 7 is the appropriate debt relief method. When you've determined the best way to proceed with your debt relief, you can work toward a state of financial security.

Source: The New York Times, "Medical costs contribute to credit card debt," Ann Carrns, May 22, 2012

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