Medical debt can be completely devastating to your finances, but one good thing about it is that through a bankruptcy, you can still discharge it. With changes in how medical insurance works in the United States, some have argued that they're in more debt now than they used to be. Others claim the healthcare reform made their treatments more affordable. So, what is the truth about the Affordable Care Act?
It's both. For some patients, like those with substantial medical costs, the risk of medical debts overwhelming them are high, and so paying a high premium or deductible is a good change. Financial roulette is the nickname given to this situation, because patients who can't pay their hospital bills end up dealing with debt-collection agencies and end up with sizable debts.
Medical collections represent, collectively, around 52 percent of all collection accounts on credit reports. In fact, around 43 million people who have debts that have gone to collections have an account there because of medical debt. The Affordable Care Act aims to change that problem, but it does have problems of its own. For example, not all plans offer a doctor in a certain specialty in network. That means that the patient will still have to pay out of pocket for that doctor to see them.
If you're injured and see a doctor, you shouldn't have to pay back that care for years on end. Even short stays in a hospital can put you under a mountain of debt; your attorney can talk to you about the methods in which you can reduce and eliminate this debt, so you can get your finances back on track.
Source: Forbes, "Unaffordable Health Care: Financial Roulette," Richard Eisenberg, Nov. 17, 2015