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Medical debt is on the rise across the country

Just about anyone who owns a home has mortgage debt. Likewise, many people have monthly car payments and just about everyone who owns a credit card has thousands of dollars in credit card debt. However, there is another growing debt problem in America, including in Tampa, which more and more people are encountering.

Although credit card debt receives a lot of attention, and rightfully so, medical debt is becoming an increasing problem for many Americans. In fact, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a third of all Americans have a difficult time paying medical bills. According to reports, medical debt is such a problem that it’s now listed as the leading cause of bankruptcy filings in the country. According to Kaiser, 62 percent of all bankruptcy filings had medical debt listed as the cause.

However, the U.S. bankruptcy code does not currently address debt related to medical expenses. That means that it’s not possible to actually file for medical-expense-related bankruptcy. Therefore, many people have to either file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which can lead to significant losses. Meantime, even though the Affordable Care Act provides less expensive health insurance to many, it does not offer any relief for those who are already in serious medical debt.

If you are facing any kind of serious debt, including medical debt, then you should probably seek some professional help. That includes speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you figure out how to best manage your debt and help you decide which steps are best for your particular situation.

Source: Roll Call, “Medical Debt: The new norm for patients in America,” Nancy Davenport-Ennis, April 30, 2014.

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