When you have health insurance, you expect that it will protect you from any significant medical expenses and cover most of the required treatment if you ever become seriously ill. Unfortunately, a study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that having health insurance did not protect a large number of patients with significant medical bills from declaring bankruptcy.
In the six-year period between 2001 and 2007, bankruptcies due to medical expenses rose by nearly 50%, going from 42% of all bankruptcies in 2001 to 62% in 2007. Contrary to the commonly held belief that most people who file for bankruptcy are poor to begin with, most people who file due to medical bills are well-educated, middle-class homeowners.
In the study, 2,134 people who filed for medical bankruptcy early in 2007 were surveyed or had their court records examined. The average out-of-pocket medical expenses totaled $17,749 for those who had had insurance and $26,971 among the uninsured. About 62% of those who filed had expenses of more than $5,000 or 10% of their pre-tax income, had mortgaged their home to pay medical bills or had lost a significant amount of their income because of their illness.
Most frightening is the fact that 78% of those surveyed did have medical insurance when they filed for bankruptcy, but still had accumulated massive medical bills due to gaps in their coverage such as alarmingly high deductibles, uncovered services and large co-payments.
More and more families are struggling to pay their medical bills. If you’re one of them and would like help determining if bankruptcy could be of benefit to you, call DeLuca and Associates today at (702) 252-4673 to schedule a free consultation with the most experienced bankruptcy lawyers in Las Vegas!