Large Portion of National Bankruptcies is Due to Medical Bills

According to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, the source for approximately 62% of all personal bankruptcies is medical bills. It may be easy to chalk this statistic up to those using Medicaid or some other form of (for lack of a better word) less dependable insurance, however, 78% of those filing for personal bankruptcy were due to unforeseen medical bills even with health insurance.

Medical bill related bankruptcies have been on the rise for decades now. The same study released by Harvard notes that in 1981, only 8% of personal bankruptcies were filed with medical bills being the main motivator. This raises the question, should we be examining more than just debt and employment rate when understanding bankruptcy? Perhaps overly-expensive healthcare (for entirely different reasons) is a primary player in the personal bankruptcy game.

Could this be true? Could the policies protecting middle-income American be so filled with loopholes that a family is simply one serious illness away from a bankruptcy? It would be a sad state of affairs, but in this case also true. Medical reasons top in the charts in motivating reasons behind a personal bankruptcy.

To attempt to explain why medical coverage and treatment is so expensive would require many, many thick books written by experts. But the result is the same, families with “coverage” are liable to be victims of high-priced medical bills, and a solution is nowhere to be found.

One voice amongst the crowd has decided to speak up. Dr. Steffie Woolhandler is an advocate of the single-payer health-system who has urged lawmakers to reconsider health-care reform. She goes on to state, “Covering the uninsured isn’t enough. Reform also needs to help families who already have insurance by upgrading their coverage and assuring that they never lose it.”

Hopefully, there will be some sort of aid coming from legislative bodies to address the severity of this finding.