Losing medical care on even a temporary basis can double a person’s risk of declaring bankruptcy. This is according to a study published by the American Bankruptcy Institute that looked at data available through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The study found that interruptions in coverage were typically related to a divorce or losing a job. It also found that individuals could be at risk for losing their jobs because of a health condition.

Researchers said that the link between bankruptcy and a temporary loss of health insurance held even after accounting for income or personal debt levels. Even those who do have health insurance may have trouble getting care because it is too expensive. A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 34% of insured adults said that they struggled to pay insurance deductibles. Furthermore, half of Americans say that they put off going to the doctor or dentist because of cost concerns or know someone who has done so.

Previous studies have found a link between medical debt and the likelihood that a person files for bankruptcy. Roughly two-thirds of all bankruptcies are caused either directly or indirectly by medical bills. In some cases, individuals are forced to file for bankruptcy because a health problem resulted in losing a job and the insurance that came with it.

Individuals who are looking to put a stop to creditor harassment may be able to do so by filing for bankruptcy. Generally, creditors are not allowed to contact debtors while a case is ongoing. Other benefits to bankruptcy may include retaining property and having debts discharged without the need to make any additional payments to creditors. A legal professional may be able to provide assistance to those looking to bankruptcy to obtain timely debt relief.