Over 137 million Americans in Tennessee and nationwide are struggling with the crushing weight of medical debt. Despite widespread concern about the broken nature of the nation’s health care system and the passage of the Affordable Care Act, people continue to struggle to make ends meet or cover basic health costs, especially when emergency care is involved. According to research, the primary reason people would cash in their retirement funds or 401(k) plans, even taking a major tax hit, is to pay off medical bills that they otherwise cannot afford. In addition, two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies across the country are at least partially linked to medical bills that people cannot afford to pay.
A difficult situation can easily spiral out of control, especially when people lose their jobs or are laid off. Medical problems can easily contribute, with people losing their insurance after needing to spend a substantial amount of time away from work due to health issues. Many people have large medical bills that date back even before the passage of the ACA and the establishment of the marketplace, while others still cannot afford to pay health insurance premiums. One problem can add up quickly, as the costs of ambulance transportation, hospitalization and surgery can rise to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in one emergency health incident.
For months and years later, people may find themselves buried under piles of medical bills. Some hospitals charge as much as 10 times as other hospitals for the same service, but people needing emergency care are not in a position to shop around.
People who are unable to pay their medical bills may find themselves looking for solutions to provide debt relief. A bankruptcy lawyer may provide advice and guidance on how Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may provide a fresh financial start.