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New Study: Medical Debt Affects All Ages & More So in Southern States

  • Apr 19 2017

newstudymedicaldebt36962224 New Study: Medical Debt Affects All Ages & More So in Southern States

While citizens over the age of 65 carry a great deal of medical debt, those in the ‘non-elderly’ range carry their fair share too–and more predominantly in the southern states. In recent Urban Institute research using data from the 2012 and 2015 National Financial Capability Study, their team discovered that while one out of four non-elderly adults have medical bills that are past due (from 2015 data), these amounts have been reduced 5.8 percent in comparison to the 2012 data, with a surprising amount of it found in the following states:

  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • West Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • Kentucky
  • Oklahoma
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

“The ten states with the lowest prevalence of past-due medical debt are more geographically dispersed: three are located in the Northeast (Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York), one in the Midwest (Minnesota), four in the West (Hawaii, California, Utah, and Nevada), and two in the South (the District of Columbia and Maryland). Overall, state past-due medical debt rates correlate strongly with state uninsured rates,” stated the researchers in their study.

Unpaid medical debt is often surprisingly significant for those who have health insurance.

“For many adults with coverage, past-due medical debt may result from exposure to medical costs in the form of deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments; services not covered by their plan; or services from providers outside their plan’s network. Insured adults may also have outstanding debt incurred when they did not have insurance.”

While there may be a variety of different reasons that medical payments go unpaid in numerous areas of the US, the reality is that bills pile up and the typical American family often begins to have trouble paying for essentials—from groceries to the rent or mortgage. Financial challenges begin to escalate due to the initial, overwhelming medical bills, which are cited as the most common reason that individuals file for bankruptcy (amidst other reasons such as unemployment, divorce, and more), whether in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, unpaid medical bills make up half of all debt collections in the US. See here to read more about this research—or to download the recent study regarding medical debt and geography.

Are you concerned about medical debt, hoping to explore ways to set your finances straight once and for all? If you are finding it difficult to pay your bills and need an experienced debtor rights attorney, contact us at Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC. We can review your current situation and discuss your options with you, whether that means bankruptcy, a negotiated settlement, or lawsuit.

Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of consumer rights matters, including bankruptcy, and we are here to help you! Call us today for a free consultation at (855) 709-5788, or email us at info@debtorprotectors.com.

Posted in: Medical debt