Although we have some of the most advanced medicine available to us, the cost for care has exponentially increased over the past few decades. It has risen to a point in which many families have trouble paying the bill. Yet, when you are in a car accident, you are not going to say “no thanks” to life-saving surgery. When you are diagnosed with cancer, you can’t say “I’ll go through chemo after I pay off my mortgage.”

NerdWallet recently published a study that showed that Californians have some of the highest medical debt in the nation, third only to New York and Texas. According to the study, it wasn’t just the cost of the care that caused the significant debt rating. In fact, many patients shouldn’t have even owed as much as their bills alleged that they did.

The study analyzed data from federal agencies, including CMS, from 2010 through 2013 and 2,016 survey responses collected by Harris Interactive from adults aged 18 and older from Aug. 13 to Aug. 15.

What did researchers find? There were a lot of billing errors. From Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, 83.5 percent of the 490 claims reviewed had errors. At Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center 76.4 percent of the 301 claims reviewed contained billing errors.

Medical debt may be unavoidable for many California residents, but there are ways to get rid of it. Bankruptcy can help them discharge medical bills and other contributing debt.

Source: California Healthline, “Study: California Residents Face Third-Highest Rate of Medical Debt,” Oct. 10, 2014