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Medical debt can burden insured and working people

Although health care has generated many debates over the last few years, there's one thing everyone can agree on: Costs are rising. At the same time, many people's incomes have not increased enough to offset rising medical costs. The reality is that a persistent health problem or catastrophic medical event can have major financial consequences.

One thing that may seem surprising to some is that medical debt is something that affects people across income levels. According to a study from the Commonwealth Fund, 52 percent of those making up to $52,000 each year have problems with medical debt. This means that even middle-class people, who work regularly and have health insurance, can be burdened by medical bills.

Even with a health insurance policy, many people are left with expenses related to co-pays, high deductibles and prescription drugs. Over time, these expenses can add up.

For those who are facing mounting medical expenses, there may be incredibly difficult decisions to make. The previously mentioned study also found that 25 percent of people with major medical bills delayed paying other important bills (including those for heat and groceries) in order to take care of health care costs. These are the kind of choices a person shouldn't have to make.

Medical debt is something that doesn't necessarily discriminate. People who have a history of making prudent financial decisions can become bogged down by medical bills. As such, it may be helpful to determine what options exist to alleviate this burden. Just as individuals seek renewal with medical treatment, debt relief can provide a financial fresh start.

Source: SiouxCityJournal.com, "Medical costs lead to financial worries," Nick Hytrek, Dec. 22, 2013

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