With medical costs going through the roof in America, many middle-class families can’t actually afford to get sick. But that’s not how life works, unfortunately. Sickness is obviously something that can adversely impact families regardless of their ability to afford medical expenses, which is why many middle-class families across the country are struggling to pay their medical bills.
One of the unfortunate consequences of this dire situation is that a lot of families, crippled by debt that they can’t afford to repay, have been forced to resort to a bankruptcy filing. Even though a filing will eliminate responsibility for medical expenses, the negatives are that families will damage their credit history, hurt their chances of securing loans later on, and be stuck with much higher interest rates on any loans granted in the future.
One report indicated that 56 million people had a difficult time paying for their healthcare expenses in 2013, which translated to one in five adult Americans. Of this amount, 10 million had enough health insurance to absorb most of the expenses. But they struggled to pay the deductibles that averaged in the range of $5,000 to $10,000 annually. Ouch!
The Kaiser Family Foundation has said that in 2015 one million adults filed for medical bankruptcy due to mounting medical costs that they couldn’t afford. This amount exceeded the number of people filing for bankruptcy because of unpaid debt from credit cards or even mortgage defaults.
According to a report cited in an ABC News report in June, meanwhile, medical issues and costs in 2007 played a role in close to two-thirds of U.S. bankruptcies, an increase of almost 50% from 2001. Researchers said that such bankruptcies may actually be higher since the data employed for the study were collected before the economic downturn currently underway.
Drilling down further into the numbers, the report noted that the majority of those who experienced bankruptcy due to medical issues were middle class prior to falling over the edge. Two-thirds of them owned homes and three-fifths had attended college. In other words, they were traditional middle-class families who simply found themselves unable to shoulder the weight of mounting medical expenses and insurance costs.
According to the report, the study revealed that families who had adequate healthcare insurance often needed to shoulder lofty out-of-pocket expenses owing to uncovered services, co-payments, and deductibles. In other words, insurance coverage didn’t necessarily safeguard against financial hardship stemming from medical expenses.
Obamacare has increased access to healthcare coverage to more Americans, but this doesn’t mean that middle-class Americans aren’t left feeling the pinch due to medical and insurance expenses. One of the problems is that tens of millions of Americans have earnings that exceed the amount under which they would otherwise qualify for coverage. The troubling thing, meanwhile, is that many of these people, while supposedly making too much to warrant coverage, are left grappling to afford the costs of providing for their families’ medical care.
Are you interested in learning more about how the middle class is drowning in medical bills? Read on for a look at this pressing situation.