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Medical Bills Cause Financial Hardship for Women in U.S.

In a recent blog post, we discussed how medical bills can lead to financial hardship and how bankruptcy can help those in debt reach financial freedom. Now, a study published by the Commonwealth Fund shows how significant medical debt really is in the United States.

According to the study, 26 percent of women have trouble paying their medical bills in the U.S., which is significantly higher than women in other countries. By comparison, only 12 percent of women in France, 13 percent of women in Australia, and 14 percent of women in Germany reported having financial problems related to medical bills.

The organization compared women in the United States to women in ten other countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Britain and Norway.

In addition, the organization found that:

  • 18.7 million women in the United States were uninsured, which is a 15 percent increase from 2000
  • 17.7 million were underinsured - meaning that although they did have health insurance, they still would face substantial out-of-pocket medical costs if they became ill
  • 43 percent of survey participants went without medical care or medication that they needed because they could not afford to pay for it
  • About half of the respondents said they were not confident that they could pay their medical bills if they became ill in the future

When the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014, experts say that many of these challenges could be alleviated for women in the United States.

Yet, what about women who are suffering from significant medical bills now? Bankruptcy is an option to consider.

If you find yourself struggling with medical debt, you are not alone. According to CredAbility, 20 percent of consumers say that they filed for bankruptcy because of medical bills. Through bankruptcy, people in debt choose to begin the path toward a better future.

If you would like to learn more about how bankruptcy can help you take the weight of medical debt off your shoulders, do not hesitate to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

Source: NBC News Vitals, "Medical bills drive many U.S. women into debt, report finds," Maggie Fox, July 13, 2012.

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