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Medical bills leading contributor to credit card debt

In a recent national survey on the credit card debt of 1,000 low- and middle-income households, it seems we are all doing a wee bit better than in previous years. Economists believe that Americans, including those of us in New Jersey, are cutting our spending by not living beyond our means and paying down our debt little by little.

Unfortunately, the recession and unemployment has meant that we have had to use our credit cards for regular day-to-day expenses like rent, groceries, utilities and insurance. One of the biggest contributors to our debt load is medical bills.

The survey found that nearly half of our citizens carry debt from our out-of-pocket medical expenses like prescriptions or unpaid doctor bills. In fact more than 75 percent of us had out-of-pocket medical costs in the last three years. As a result, we may be skipping doctor visits and daily medication.

Thankfully, the survey found that residents of Burlington County are also benefitting from the provisions of the 2009 Credit Card Act. New information printed on our credit card bills is helping us pay down our balances faster. We are paying fewer late fees and if we have to miss a credit card payment, the new laws help keep our interest rates from increasing.

By eliminating your medical debt, small business debt and/or credit card debt you can ensure that your house and vehicles are not foreclosed or repossessed. You deserve a fresh start for your career, your health and your family.

Source: New York Times, “Medical Costs Contribute to Credit Card Debt,” Ann Carrns, May 22, 2012.

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