How serious is the problem of medical debt?

If you or someone in your family in Louisiana contracts a disease, sustains a serious injury or otherwise becomes very ill, you may struggle with how to pay for the medical treatment necessary. The sheer cost of health care in America often prevents people from receiving the care they need, even if they have insurance. You might also encounter a drop in income at this time. If you are the person who is sick, you might not be able to work for a while. If you can claim disability benefits, they only pay a fraction of what you would actually have earned could you have worked. You may also have to take time off of your job to care for an ill relative, such as a child or a parent. 

The above scenarios explain why medical debt accounts for a large share of bankruptcy filings in the U.S. As reported by CNBC, one study found that over 66% of people cited medical debt as a factor in their bankruptcies. The study evaluated filings between 2013 and 2016 and noted as many as 530,000 cases annually were connected to medical debt. 

Medical debt as a bankruptcy factor far outweighed other common factors such as divorce or separation which accounted for 24% of cases or student loans with accounted for 25% of filings. Foreclosures or excessively high mortgage costs were associated with 45% of bankruptcies. 

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give residents in Louisiana an overview of how serious medical debt can really be, so they understand they are not alone if they find themselves in this type of situation.