More Georgians forced to use credit cards to pay medical bills
If you are like many other Georgians, you are probably in a precarious financial position as a result of the depressed job and housing markets. Even if you have avoided bankruptcy and foreclosure throughout the economic recession, you may be just one emergency or unplanned situation away from financial disaster.
The lack of a financial safety net has forced many people in Atlanta and throughout the country to use high-interest credit cards to pay their medical bills.
It is not just patients without health insurance who are turning to credit cards to pay medical debt. A recent study found that about one-fourth of Americans have difficulty paying their medical bills, and that two-thirds of that group has health insurance.
According to a new report prepared by The Access Project and Demos, two non-profit organizations, many employers have scaled back their health insurance offerings as a way to cut costs in the dismal economy. This has left families shouldering more of the burden of their medical expenses. And with ever-rising health care costs, paying medical bills out of pocket is simply impossible for many cash-strapped families.
Even families who are in relative good health run the risk of suffering long-term financial consequences from a medical emergency, according to researcher Mark Rukavina. “Nearly 60 million adults in the U.S. are at risk of incurring medical bills they will not be able to afford,” he said. “Many people are just an illness away from becoming medical debtors, and medical debt can have a detrimental effect on health-care access.”
Source: HealthDay, “More Americans Paying Their Medical Bills With Credit Cards,” Amanda Gardner, Jan. 16, 2012