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Even those with health insurance can suffer from medical debt

Though many South Carolina residents are aware that medical debt is a problem for many people, some may not know how much it affects even those who are insured. Sources suggest that as many as 70 percent of people with health insurance nevertheless struggle with medical debt, and the Consumer Financial Protection Board says that such bills are now accounting for half the collection reports on credit scores.

Health insurance is specifically intended to help people financially in the face of unpredictable medical emergencies. However, the cost sharing agreements innate to many health insurance plans can themselves bring on medical debt. The theory behind cost sharing is that it will limit frivolous medical visits, but for patients with medical conditions that require them to seek regular care, even the cost of sharing the financial burden with their insurance provider may be enough to put them in debt.

Even with the Affordable Care Act in place, the average workplace insurance plan still requires a $1,200 deductible, and the most popular type of plan under the ACA carries a deductible that is more than twice that amount. According to the author of a Kaiser Family Foundation study on this issue, the ongoing costs of co-pays and deductibles may potentially oblige even insured individuals to skip medical treatments for otherwise routine conditions.

As can be seen, medical debt continues to be problematic for many families across the country, and someone facing such difficulties may wish to consult their situation with an attorney. In some cases, it may be advisable to file for bankruptcy in order to get out from under medical debt and secure a measure of financial relief. There are eligibility and other requirements associated with consumer bankruptcy that the attorney will explain.

Source: Main Street, "The Truth About Medical Debt: It's a Lot Higher Than You Think", Eric Reed , Jan. 15, 2015

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