Cancer diagnosis increases bankruptcy risk
Receiving a serious medical diagnosis raises all kinds of difficult questions for Georgia residents. Along with concerns about health and family, there are also many issues to work through in terms of finances, insurance, and ability to work. These issues can have such a profound impact that a serious illness actually increases the risk of declaring bankruptcy.
According to a recent study, people who have been diagnosed with cancer are 2.5 times more likely to file for bankruptcy than those without a cancer diagnosis.
A diagnosis for a serious disease like cancer can take a toll on personal finances in a variety of ways. One problem that many people face is insufficient insurance. Younger people who receive a serious medical diagnosis are particularly at risk in this situation since they may not have full benefits at their job and they may not qualify for medicaid or other supplemental programs. When an insurance company does not cover medical costs patients must pay out of pocket for expensive procedures and surgeries, which can result in mounting medical debt.
Medical debt can be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding, so there is a way out for patients who have been overwhelmed by large hospital bills and expensive medications. As in all bankruptcy filings, people with medical debt must show that they are unable to pay what they owe with their current income. For people who have become partially or fully disabled because of an illness, bankruptcy is often the most accessible way to get out of debt and move forward with the treatment and healing that is needed to recover from an illness.
Source: NBC News, “Cancer increases bankruptcy risk, even for insured,” Barbara Mantel, May 15, 2013.