South Carolina consumers might be interested in some new rules that apply to credit reporting. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that approximately 43 million people in the U.S., nearly one in five with credit reports, have medical collections actions listed thereon. Less than 8 percent of those listed collections have been marked paid, and it is unknown how many of them might have been paid by insurers and should therefore be removed.
Personal bankruptcies throughout America hit their peak in 2005. Since there, there have been 12 straight years of declining rates, and there has been a 50 percent drop since 2010. That year, there were 1.5 million consumer bankruptcies compared to 766,000 in 2016, and there are few signs that this trend will not continue in South Carolina and across the U.S. Many observers say that the Affordable Care Act has played a role in this trend.
Many South Carolina residents are struggling with serious medical debt after major health care expenses were not covered by insurance or due to being uninsured. A startup is pledging to dedicate its proceeds toward helping people this situation.
People in South Carolina with high deductible health insurance coverage often struggle to pay medical bills. Those with chronic conditions that force them to meet their deductibles every year especially face financial hardship. The National Center for Health Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines such a plan as having a deductible of at least $1,300 for an individual and $2,600 for a family.
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.
Many South Carolina residents struggle with medical debt, and a study published on Jan. 12 by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reveals that more than half of the calls made by U.S. collection agencies concern unpaid doctor or hospital bills. The federal agency also noticed that even consumers with high incomes and favorable credit scores often run into problems with medical debt.
While crowdfunding may seem like an effective way to raise money to pay medical bills, only 11 percent of campaigns are fully funded. This is according to a 2015 study conducted by NerdWallet. Another 2015 study found that 26 percent of adults are dealing with financial issues related to medical debt. This is despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act has given more people access to health care.
For many South Carolina residents, medical debt is a significant cause of financial stress. This is true despite the fact that more people around the country have some form of health insurance. A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the New York Times found that 20 percent of working Americans with health insurance struggle to pay their medical bills. The number increased to over 50 percent for those who had no insurance.
A major contributor to bankruptcy is overwhelming medical bills. When South Carolina residents are injured in an accident or incure an unexpected illness, their medical debt can quickly balloon because of the high cost of treatment. Even people who have insurance may face high bills because of copays and deductibles.
Having health insurance can help defray the cost of care, but it is not a guarantee that a South Carolina resident won't experience financial hardship. One poll of residents of another southern state found that 76 percent of those who drew down their savings or racked up credit card debt in the prior two years had health insurance. According to a national poll, 26 percent of respondents said that a medical debt caused a serious financial problem.