There is an old adage which says that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is certainly true when it comes to healthcare. For most of us, living a healthy lifestyle and preventing disease and injury are far cheaper than paying for expensive care when our health begins to fail. In light of the fact that medical debt is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, investing in your physical health may be a way to safeguard your financial health.

But Americans living with a chronic disease often have little choice about the healthcare costs they incur. Take Type 1 diabetes, for example, which afflicts more than 1.5 million Americans. Even with the most comprehensive insurance, some Type 1 diabetics often pay over $4,000 per year out of pocket just for diabetes-related medical equipment and supplies. Without insurance, these costs could top $26,000 per year.

Moreover, patients with a chronic disease like Type 1 diabetes cannot shop around for the cheapest supplies. Much of the medical equipment and manufactured insulin products are patented, which means that the costs are high to insurers and to patients. And every time a small advancement is made, the cost of a given product seems to go up.

To be sure, medical breakthroughs have dramatically improved the lives (and life expectancy) of many people living with chronic illness. But the financial costs may prove unsustainable even with insurance.

For anyone suffering under the weight of overwhelming medical debt, filing for bankruptcy protection may be the best way to regain financial health and stability. If you feel that bankruptcy may be right for you, please contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Source: New York Times, “Even Small Medical Advances Can Mean Big Jumps in Bills,” Elisabeth Rosenthal, April 5, 2014