Increasing Number of Women Struggling With Medical Debt

The rising cost of healthcare has left many Americans scrambling. While the government wrangles over how to handle the rising cost of healthcare, many families buried by medical debt are trying to figure out how to get by.

Medical debt is reaching critical levels for many. Medical bills are responsible for 60 percent of all bankruptcies in the United States. But it does not impact everybody equally. Now there is evidence to suggest that women are more likely to be crippled by medical debt than men.

According to a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, 26 percent of women in the U.S. struggled to pay their medical bills in 2009 and 2010. That is more than double the number of women struggling in other countries such as Australia and Germany to pay for their healthcare.

A number of factors contribute to women's challenges including the costs they incur for childbearing. These other reasons include:

  • Women pay more than men for the same insurance
  • Women often have higher out-of-pocket costs than men
  • Women are generally paid less than men

To make ends meet, women often cut corners, either forgoing coverage entirely or buying coverage that only covers catastrophic events. According to, the Commonwealth report found that 18.7 women in the U.S. did not have any form of health insurance coverage in 2010. An additional 16.7 million were underinsured, meaning they did not have sufficient coverage to meet their medical needs. A disproportionate number of these women lived in southern and western states.

Unfortunately, the problem is only getting worse. The number of uninsured women has grown steadily since 2000 and reached 20 million in 2010. Between 2003 and 2010, the number of underinsured adults, both men and women, rose by 80 percent.

Many individuals overwhelmed by medical bills get debt relief by filing bankruptcy. Whether pursuing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, bankruptcy offers people an opportunity to start fresh and take control of their financial future.

Because there are many myths surrounding bankruptcy, it is not uncommon for people to have fears about bankruptcy. Anyone who has thought about bankruptcy for even a moment should speak to an experienced Atlanta bankruptcy attorney who can answer your questions and educate you about the process. Many people's concerns are put to rest after speaking with a lawyer. Once they understand the process, they can feel empowered to make the best decision for themselves and their families.