Cancer, just like other health problems, is a very devastating illness to have. Apart from the woes and medical issues associated with the illness, cancer patients also have to worry about their financial status and how the illness will affect it. Reports have shown that the main cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is from medical bills.
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center also stated that cancer patients are twice as likely to file for bankruptcy after a cancer diagnosis. Most cancer-diagnosed patients will be responsible for several financial costs from therapy, insurance, loss of work, and others. In this article, we will discuss the relationship between bankruptcy and medical bills.
Cancer Patients and Bankruptcy Studies
A Harvard study carried out by Elizabeth Warren stated that out of the 1.4 million bankruptcies, over 60% were as a result of medical bills. Most of the people who were diagnosed with cancer or other health problems had more financial implications from taking out mortgages to pay their medical bills to losing out on work because of the illness. These medical causes and more, affect the financial stability of these patients and cause them to file for bankruptcy.
Another set of researchers, Tal Gross and Matthew Notowidigbo deduced in their 2011 study that these extra medical costs were the cause of over 20% of bankruptcies from low income households. There have been different studies on this theory and despite the differences in variables, they are all saying the same thing – medical bills from cancer patients or patients with health problems are the leading cause of bankruptcy.
Cost of Cancer Drugs Are at an All-time High
One of the leading reasons cancer patients file for bankruptcy is the high cost of cancer drugs and treatments. Some government programs and insurance cover some of these cancer drugs and when people don’t have any of these, they accrue a lot of costs that lead them to file for bankruptcy.
What to Do When You Are Diagnosed
The first step to avoid filing for bankruptcy because of medical bills is to know what your medical rights are. While a lot of services offer pro bono work for clients who are looking for the best alternatives to pay their medical bills, there are opportunities to do research on the price of care you receive. Comparing prices ahead of time is a good way to save on costs that might cripple you.
If you have already accrued debts, there are steps you can take to reduce the financial burden. First thing is to negotiate your debts – you can do this before, after or even during the medical care. The next step is to find out if you qualify for debt forgiveness. There are also opportunities for you to set up a repayment plan that will not cripple you with the hospital. It is very important to be aware of all the risks before you take any action. Actions like borrowing against a credit card or taking a mortgage should not be taken without considering all your options.
If you or someone you love is stricken with a health problem and are considering bankruptcy, you need help. Elias Dsouza of Dsouza Legal Group has the knowledge and experience to help you in this time of need. Contact Elias today for a free consultation.