According to a new study, medical bills account for more than 60% of bankruptcies. This is an increase, in 2001, 46% of bankruptcies were medical-related.
The study surveyed a random sample of 2,374 people who filed for bankruptcy in early 2007, examined court records, and interviewed 1,000 of them.
A surprising fact from the study: 75% of the people who filed medical-related bankruptcy had health insurance.
78% of patients from the study said there were gaps in their coverage, like co-payments, deductibles, and uncovered services. Other people had private insurance, but got so sick that they lost their job and insurance.
"Unless you're a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you're one illness away from financial ruin in this country," says lead author Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, in Cambridge, Mass. "If an illness is long enough and expensive enough, private insurance offers very little protection against medical bankruptcy, and that's the major finding in our study."
Other links of interest:
No Health Insurance? A Tip to Control Health Care Costs
Free/Low Cost Clinic Finder
Discounted care courtesy of the Federal Government
Discounted Prescription Programs