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Study shows that insurance offers no immunity from medical debt

Many people in Michigan and elsewhere have to pay for some medical costs out of pocket. According to a recent study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, medical debt is an issue faced by both the insured and uninsured. In fact, the study reveals that the majority of people who struggle to pay their out-of-pocket expenses actually have health insurance plans. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to get rid of this type of debt.

According to the Kaiser study, one-third of Americans with medical debt have difficulty paying it. While those without health insurance are more likely to acquire medical debt, they appear to have less trouble managing it than those who are insured. In addition, this issue affects people from all ages and income levels. Respondents ranged from young adults to senior citizens with incomes under $10,000 to above $100,000.

Medical debt usually starts with owing a deductible or having to pay for care that is not covered by insurance. Many who struggle with this debt also reported other financial troubles, such as paying for housing and other basic needs. The study found that most respondents spent years trying to pay off the medical debt. For some with chronic illnesses, the bills would continue to come.

While this study paints a bleak picture, there is hope. Michigan residents who are overwhelmed with medical debt may find it beneficial to look into their options for debt relief. For many, bankruptcy offers the best solution for discharging the debt or getting set up on a court-approved repayment plan. Many who choose this option find that they have been given a fresh start, which can help them plan for a better financial future.

Source: Albuquerque Business First, The many faces of medical debt, Dennis Domrzalski, Jan. 13, 2014

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