Study Finds Medical Bills Cause Most Bankruptcies

Posted on June 4, 2009

Reuters reports that medical bills are involved in 60% of families filing bankruptcy. The survey also said that 75% of the bankrupt families had health insurance but were still overwhelmed by the amount of medical debt.
More than 75 percent of these bankrupt families had health insurance but still were overwhelmed by their medical debts, the team at Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School and Ohio University reported in the American Journal of Medicine.

"Using a conservative definition, 62.1 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92 percent of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5,000, or 10 percent of pretax family income," the researchers wrote.

"Most medical debtors were well-educated, owned homes and had middle-class occupations."
There is truth in the saying that many Americans are just one bill away from bankruptcy. Harvard's Dr. David Himmelstein told Reuters, "Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy. For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection."
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