Many Americans struggle under the crushing weight of medical debt. We count on our doctors and medical systems to keep us healthy, but the cost of care is often outrageously expensive.
Medical debt can occur slowly over time, if you suffer from a chronic illness that requires many doctor visits or procedures. It can also happen in an instant, after just one unexpected injury or illness.
The stress of unmanageable medical debt causes many problems. You may constantly worry about paying your other bills, potential damage to your credit and lawsuits.
Impact on physical and mental health
A recent study shows that people with medical debt have a higher chance of having health problems. The stress of high medical debt can also cause current health problems to worsen. This includes both physical and mental health.
Stress over medical debt can cause you to engage in risky behavior, such as increased alcohol consumption or smoking, both of which impact your physical health. You may try to save money by doing things such as purchasing cheaper food, which is often less nutritious, contributing to poorer health.
You are also more likely to succumb to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. You might begin skipping doctor appointments or foregoing necessary or recommended medical procedures because you do not want to accumulate any more medical debt.
All these behaviors and actions lead to an overall shorter life expectancy. The purpose of medical treatment is to improve your health and well-being, and if your health suffers because of the treatment cost, you can easily get caught up in a vicious cycle.
Bankruptcy could be your solution
Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies can potentially relieve you of the burden of your medical debt. Medical bills are eliminated under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would allow you to make reasonable payments toward your debt.
It is no longer a stigma to file for bankruptcy. It is now viewed as a smart move that can help you get back on your feet and reclaim your financial stability.