Even with health insurance, more and more individuals are finding that they cannot afford their medical bills.
A recent study published as an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies filed by Americans were tied to medical issues (due to high costs or time out of work). The data showed that an estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of high medical bills.
(Other reasons behind bankruptcy included high mortgages or foreclosure, spending or living beyond one's means, student loans and divorce.)
"Despite gains in coverage and access to care from the Affordable Care Act, our findings suggest that it did not change the proportion of bankruptcies with medical causes," the authors wrote.
Even worse, 57 percent of American adults say they've been surprised by a medical bill they thought would be covered by insurance, according to a survey from the research group NORC at the University of Chicago. This leaves many scrambling to find a way to pay their bills — on top essential expenses like mortgage, food and utility costs.
Unfortunately, those who can't pay off debt fast enough eventually have their bills turned over to a collection agency, which is bad news for their credit score. If you're drowning in medical bills, the important thing here is to know that you have options. Here are some helpful tips to help you cope with high medical bills: