February 12, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- In 2014, the provision of the Affordable Care Act allowing everyone in the U.S. access to health insurance plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace went into effect. These health insurance programs are designed to be affordable and limit people' total annual health care expenses. One of the many eventual benefits of the ACA is that fewer people will be crushed by overwhelming medical expenses; and therefore, less of a need to file for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy can be very beneficial and a need may even still arise with coverage under the ACA; however, the more we can do to lessen the dramatic effect that medical bills can have on one's life, the better. Insurance is so important and much easier to handle than hundreds of thousands in medical bills. So, it is important to protect oneself against the threat of medical debt and to take active steps in doing so. Bankruptcy is a wonderful tool for those in debt but do not force yourself to file for medical reasons when it can be prevented.
Medical bills are a leading cause of bankruptcy
is a serious problem in the U.S. A 2013 study conducted by NerdWallet Health, the division of the price-comparison website NerdWallet that focuses on health care costs, found that medical debt was the reason for three out of five bankruptcies, making it the leading cause of bankruptcy among individuals. The study also estimated that approximately 2 million people filed for bankruptcy because of medical debts in 2013.
Many people who lack health insurance are one serious illness away from a financial crisis. People who have been ill and racked up large medical bills often end up maxing out their credit cards
, emptying savings accounts and even refinancing homes. While not everyone who has serious medical debt seeks bankruptcy protection, the NerdWallet study reported that over 35 million people in the U.S. were contacted by collections agencies because of medical bills. Moreover, 10 million adults had to forego necessities like heat, rent and food just to make installment payments on medical bills.
Reducing exposure to medical bills
The ACA will help stem the tide of medical debt bankruptcies. The health insurance programs available on the Health Insurance Marketplace provide more comprehensive coverage than many minimal-coverage health insurance programs available prior to the ACA. That means that more services are covered under these plans, so people end up paying less out-of-pocket. People are eligible for tax credits, as well, to help defray the cost of monthly health insurance premium costs.
Additionally, the ACA limits the out-of-pocket expenses that a person pays in one year to $6,250. While $6,250 may be difficult for many people to pay in a year, it is more manageable than the hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt that an uninsured or underinsured person can accrue from cancer treatment, for example.
Talk to a lawyer
While the ACA should help people from needing to file bankruptcy because of medical debt in the future, it does nothing for those who have already amassed huge medical bills. Those with serious medical debt may want to consider bankruptcy as a means of debt relief. If you have questions about your options for dealing with medical bills, speak with a skilled debt relief attorney who can advise you on how to proceed based on your specific circumstances.
Article provided by Chicago Debt Solutions
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