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Those struggling with medical debt in New Jersey are not alone

As the economy continues to struggle, so do individuals in New Jersey and across the entire nation. While much of the focus in society has recently been placed on the problem of overspending — whether it is on a national or individual level – many Americans are finding themselves struggling financially for a different type of overspending they had no control over.

When a family member falls ill or becomes injured in an accident, there is no choice but to get them the necessary medical care they desperately need. As the cost of health care increases so does the amount of medical debt many individuals find themselves owing.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Center for Studying Health System Change and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation one in five Americans are struggling to pay their medical bills. The average individual had approximately $6,500 worth of medical debt in 2010. Over half of the families struggling with the debt reported that they had paid of “none or little” of what they owe and another 17 percent said that it would take them more than five years to pay it off.

The study found that while many Americans actually have employer-sponsored insurance, they are finding that the coverage is insufficient or causing problems. According to one of the co-authors of the study, those who have employer-sponsored insurance “will not be eligible for subsidies to purchase private health insurance through the new state health exchanges, because you only qualify if you don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance.”

Medical debt is one of the hardest kinds of debt for individuals to struggle with. You can see the debt increasing without being able to stop it. There is a way to step out of the financial struggle. Discussing your situation with a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney will provide you with the answers to your questions and a clear picture of the options available to you.

Source: Kaiser Health News, “Survey Finds One In Five Americans Juggling Medical Bills,” Shefali S. Kulkarni, Dec. 23, 2011

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