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Majority of bankruptcies related to medical expense?

A young woman attending college in the state of Washington suffered severe head injuries when she was 10-years-old during a snowmobile accident.  And while she has spent close to half of her life facing various medical procedures and hospitalizations, she is now excelling in college with hopes of attending graduate school.

Sadly, she still suffers from seizures, and doctors have been unable to pinpoint precisely what is wrong.  After doctors in Spokane told her that they would not be able to treat her, she then decided she will visit the Mayo Clinic.  The trip to visit the clinic will probably be paid for by fund-raising efforts of her family.

This young woman is just one more individual that is looking for alternate ways to pay her medical expenses. Patients like her often do not have insurance, or the insurance company has ruled they will not pay for particular medical expenses. And even with insurance, there can be co-pays and deductibles that are difficult for the patient to cover.

We've learned from a 2007 Harvard study that medical costs can contribute to close to 60 percent of personal bankruptcies. That number of bankruptcies due to medical expense is significantly higher than it was in just 2001. Ironically, the vast majority of individuals that did file bankruptcy due to medical expense were covered by some form of health insurance.

Individuals may wish to speak to attorneys about their options when facing overwhelming medical debt. Bankruptcy and other options may at least allow such individuals to start anew. However, it's good to consult with an attorney that understands recent changes to bankruptcy law and who can also recommend a solution to one's individual circumstances.

Source: Inlander, "Crowdfunding medical bills," Lisa Waananen, Sep. 5, 2013

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