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Skyrocketing medical expenses lead to Florida bankruptcies

Last month, we wrote that more than one-quarter of American families struggle to pay medical bills. Medical debt is a leading cause of bankruptcy, and it may actually cause even more personal bankruptcies than mortgages and credit card debt. Many Florida residents think that they could never be crushed by medical bills because they have health insurance. The unfortunate truth, however, is that many people with insurance can end up facing unmanageable medical bills.

Those who face significant health problems are often up against a number of costs that their health insurance plans will not cover. For example, a person who suffers a serious injury or illness will likely lose wages during the ordeal. He or she might also face the need for expensive childcare, as well as assistance cleaning and cooking. Transportation to and from health care facilities is another out-of-pocket medical expense. These added costs can make it very difficult for people to make ends meet.

Those who find themselves in such difficult situations need to be aware that they may have options. Various organizations in Florida can provide support to families who are dealing with illness or injury. It is also sometimes possible to curb medical bills a bit by negotiating with a hospital.

Hospitals are often willing to reduce the amount owed or work out affordable payment schedules. Individuals do need to be careful, however, in order to avoid actually financing medical debt by attaching it to a high-interest line of credit that will result in even more debt.

When it is not possible to come up with an affordable solution to medical debt, Florida residents may want to consider bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow individuals to discharge their medical and other debts, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a way to reorganize and reduce debts. It is important to talk to an experienced debt relief attorney about the best possible option.

Source: Fox Business, "Medical Bankruptcies are Still a Problem, Here's What to Expect," Donna Fuscaldo, Feb. 18, 2014

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