Underinsured Americans Still Paying Outrageous Medical Bills

Posted on June 5, 2015 at 12:00pm by

Over the course of the last several years, America has sought ways to broaden access to health insurance and bring down the price of health care. However, nearly a quarter of adults last year were found to be underinsured and lacking protection from enormous medical bills.

According to Commonwealth Fund researchers, 31 million people between the ages of 19 and 64 lacked important coverage, meaning a single emergency room visit could become an ordeal worth tens of thousands of dollars. The research also found that 51 percent of the “underinsured” had difficulty paying medical bills.

Underinsured people are likely to have high-deductible insurance policies. Deductibles are what patients pay out-of-pocket while receiving medical care. A study from the Kaiser Family Foundation found health insurance plans with deductibles as high as $6,000. If a person with such a plan were to receive emergency care, insurance would not kick in until the person had paid $6,000!

What Happens When I Do Not Pay My Medical Bills?

So what happens when someone living paycheck-to-paycheck has insurance with a high deductible and gets into an accident? Depending on whether they are capable of paying the medical bills, hospitals could seek a judgement against that person, garnishing his or her wages and putting them further into debt. Credit ratings could be negatively impacted, making it more difficult for the person to find jobs and places to live.

In some cases, filing for bankruptcy can help individuals discharge medical bills and resolve some of the consequences associated with medical debt. Contacting a bankruptcy attorney costs nothing and can provide people with options for reducing or removing medical debt.

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