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Why medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy

In 2016 alone, the United States saw 770,946 personal bankruptcy filings. Although there are many reasons a person may file for bankruptcy, medical debt continues to be a leading cause of this debt relief option in Texas and across the country. Contrary to popular belief, those who are insured may also experience high levels of this type of debt.

In the United States, the average hospital stay costs $10,700. Costs can vary but are still typically thousands of dollars; a routine childbirth runs about $3,600 while a heart attack stay can cost over $20,000. Even those with insurance typically have out-of-pocket costs for these stays, which can result in medical debt should an unexpected medical issue occur.

Those who have certain conditions may end up with high bills as well. For example, cancer drugs cost at least $10,000 per month, and those with insurance typically pay 20 to 30 percent of these costs. Meanwhile, those with diabetes have an average medical expenditure of $9,601. Emergency treatment can also end in debt, as patients often pay upfront and then are stuck with this cost if insurance turns down a claim. Costs like this, in addition to rising costs for insurance and copays, can leave people in a bind.

When most people in Texas file for personal bankruptcy, it is because they cannot pay their bills. Medical debt tends to be unsecured, so it can often be discharged through Chapter 7 or Chapter 12 filings. Those who wish to understand their specific options for bankruptcy should contact a lawyer to understand the processes and laws associated with this decision.

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