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Medical debt continues to plague American families

Medical debt remains one of the leading causes of personal bankruptcy in the United States. According to a 2007 Harvard University research study, more than 60 percent of individuals who filed for personal bankruptcy in the U.S. cited medical debt as a contributing factor. In 1981, that number was no more than 8 percent. Tennessee residents might be interested to learn that between 1981 and 2001, medical bankruptcies increased by nearly 2,200 percent.

In an effort to reduce some of the burden associated with medical debt, as well as protest the credit industry, an East Coast non-profit organization recently purchased more than $1 million in medical debts owned by more than 1,000 U.S. consumers. According to the organization, the group purchased medical debt ranging between $25 and $8,000. The group also noted that the debt was purchased from credit collection agencies for a small fraction of its value.

While high medical bills are a leading factor in personal bankruptcy filings, the single most common medical-related-factor affecting consumers financially is drug costs. As we have discussed in prior posts, this can be a particularly significant financial challenge for elderly individuals. In fact, drug costs affect Medicare-insured debtors, the elderly, and individuals struggling with psychiatric disorders, more than any other consumer group in the country.

Individuals struggling to pay medical expenses should know that they are not alone. There are a number of options available for consumers who find themselves drowning in debt. To learn more about debt relief options, it is important to consider bankruptcy as an option. From Chapter 7 bankruptcy to negotiating repayment plans with a creditor, there are a number of options available to help consumers find a little relief from the burdens of debt.

USA Today, "Group forgives $1 million in doctor bills," Jere Downs, April 23, 2013

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

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