Medical debt can rack up quickly; even a single stay in a hospital can lead to hundreds or thousands of dollars of debt. Most patients intend to pay what they owe, but it can become overwhelming and the best intentions can go unmet. The problem is that postponing this debt can lead to a number of repercussions, particularly if the debt goes to collections.
If you're struggling with medical debt, you're not alone. Around 53 percent of those who are uninsured have reported trouble with paying medical bills. Forty-four percent of those with insurance reported that the medical bills had an impact on their families. Insured individuals who had trouble paying bills reported that in about 26 percent of cases, they had their claims denied unexpectedly leading to debts they weren't aware they'd accrue.
What is more telling is that medical bills can lead to an impact on retirement and savings accounts. A total of 31 percent of Americans who were insured had to take money out of retirement, long-term savings accounts, college funds and other accounts to pay for medical bills in the last year alone. Another 17 percent of people who were uninsured reported having to do the same.
Prevention can help prevent costly injuries and illnesses down the line, but the cost of tests can be a deterring factor. Over 28 percent of people asked on a Kaiser Family Foundation and New York Times survey reported skipping testing because of the cost.
Our website has more information about medical debt and how you can overcome it through negotiations and other kinds of debt relief.