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Medical bankruptcies: even for people with health insurance?

That above blog headline sounds a bit inexplicable, doesn't it?

Just imagine the circular conversation that might surround a discussion on that topic, in which one person who has just filed for bankruptcy protection tries to explain something that a listener finds flatly baffling.

"I just filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of a ridiculous amount of medical debt," says one friend to another.

"But you have health insurance through your company, right?" inquires the latter.

"Yes, but … ."

In research conducted a decade ago, a health management professor at a major university concluded that medical-related bankruptcy was largely an issue for individuals and families lacking health insurance coverage.

"I think the old evidence might no longer be relevant," he now says.

That is certainly what a recent poll carried out by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The New York Times indicates.

And that is this: A sizable number of people across the United States with health insurance coverage still have difficulty paying medical bills.

And in a big way. Evidence indicates that the skyrocketing costs attached to medical care even for insured parties owing to ever-spiraling out-of-pocket requirements, co-payments and deductibles now hurts high numbers of consumers in ways that go far beyond the mere inability to make cable TV payments or buy a second car.

Indeed, many insured individuals still amass medical bills that feature stunningly high amounts that simply cannot be paid. As The New York Times notes, that can prompt "deep financial and personal sacrifices, affecting their housing, employment, credit and daily lives."

The sad bottom line that often results for medical debtors is that they must expend all their savings to stay one step ahead of creditors. The Times notes a flat truism, namely, that the U.S. is "the most expensive place in the world to get sick."

It shouldn't be that way, of course, but it is. Readers of this blog who are experiencing undue financial difficulties owing to medical debt -- or know someone who is -- might take some comfort in knowing that bankruptcy protection has provided material debt relief to high numbers of individuals and families suffering from extreme economic dislocation.

A proven bankruptcy attorney can provide further information.

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