Even with insurance, it is difficult for some Louisiana consumers to manage their medical bills. One emergency room trip, unexpected surgery or new medical need can wipe out expenses and leave families unsure of how they will keep up. Millions of Americans are struggling with medical bills, something that is particularly difficult in a year with a significant amount of economic uncertainty.
For those who are able to get their medical bills on a payment plan, the extra expense has become an expected monthly cost, even if they cannot really afford it. For lower-income individuals, medical bills can be equivalent to half of their monthly take-home pay. One medical debt association found that around 33% of all Americans have medical bills they are paying. Another group estimates that around $45 billion of medical debt is in collections in the United States.
Additional studies found that of all working Americans, around 32% have outstanding medical bills. Approximately 23% of those with this type of debt have expressed concerns of ever being able to pay it off. Around 66% of all bankruptcies are attributed to medical expenses.
For those in Louisiana who do have medical bills they cannot pay, bankruptcy is a viable option. Chapter 7 is a process that allows an applicant to confront certain types of unsecured balances, including medical debts. Overwhelmed consumers will benefit from speaking with an experienced attorney regarding this option. An assessment of the individual case can allow a potential applicant to understand the benefits and potential drawbacks of this process.