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How medical debt impacts South Carolina residents

According to a study from the Urban Institute, roughly 25 percent of working adults around the country have overdue medical debt. That is actually a decrease from roughly 30 percent in 2012. An improving economy and the presence of the Affordable Care Act are cited as possible causes for this decrease. However, simply having an insurance policy doesn't mean that an individual avoids falling behind on medical debts.

Those who make less than $35,000 and those who are part of the millennial or Gen-X age groups are more likely to have past due medical bills. One reason for this is because wages for those under the age of 40 have stagnated since the 1980s. Working age adults who live in Mississippi, West Virginia and Arkansas are most likely to have past due medical debt.

Individuals who have a higher level of financial knowledge may be less likely to have past due debt. However, it doesn't decrease their risk of falling behind on a medical bill. This may be because some people take financial literacy classes after they have already acquired the debt. It is recommended that individuals try to create a financial cushion even if they can only save $250 or $500. That may be enough in some cases to prevent going into debt because of a surprise medical bill.

People who are seeking relief from medical or other types of debt may consider filing for bankruptcy. In some cases, unsecured debt may be discharged within weeks under Chapter 7. An attorney may be able to explain the benefits of bankruptcy such as an automatic stay of creditor collection efforts and harassment.

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The Huggins Law Firm, PA

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