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Millions still struggle with medical debt

There are fewer families in New Jersey that are unable to keep up with their medical bills, but while this is good news, many people still struggle to make ends meet and stay current with health care costs. According to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of individuals in the United States under the age of 65 in families that cannot keep up with medical debt has gone down to 20.3 percent in the first six months of 2012 from 21.7 percent in the first six months of 2011.

These numbers are somewhat encouraging, but the fact is that well over 50 million Americans are not able to keep up with bills related to their health care. Some experts are concerned that the reason for the drop in the number of families who struggle with medical debt is due to fewer people receiving needed health care. Based on data from the CDC report, those who had medical insurance were less likely to end up with overwhelming amounts of debt than those who did not have healthcare.

A spokesman for a nonprofit health care advocacy group believes that due to chronic unemployment, many people simply do not go to the doctor when they need to. The spokesman believes that people who do not have insurance because they do not have steady employment may have less medical debt because they are not getting the medical attention they need since they cannot afford it.

Individuals who cannot make ends meet due to enormous medical bills may benefit from filing for bankruptcy. An attorney could help people understand what is involved in filing and help them ensure they select the right type of filing for their circumstances.

Source: US News & World Report, “Fewer Families Struggling to Pay Medical Bills: CDC“, Dennis Thompson, June 04, 2013

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