• Research shows that about 137.1 million Americans have faced financial hardship this year because of medical costs.
  • High health-care bills are the No. 1 reason people would consider taking money out of their retirement accounts or filing for bankruptcy.
  • Before you raid your personal savings, there are some proactive steps you can take to negotiate those balances down or even pursue forgiveness.

For 137 million Americans, they can be the scariest bills to open.

That's the number of adults who have faced medical financial hardship in the past year, research shows.