An Unhealthy New Trend in Health Care Costs Skip to main content

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An Unhealthy New Trend in Health Care Costs

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If it seems like it’s been a while since we’ve talked about the rising cost of health care, that’s because up until this year, these mounting medical costs had leveled.

But in the new America, it seems you can’t keep a high cost down.

In reality, the costs of employer-sponsored health insurance surged during 2011, cutting short a timely trend toward only “moderate growth.” According to a report released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust, annual premiums for family coverage climbed 9 percent and surpassed $15,000 for the first time. Premiums for single coverage rose 8 percent compared to 2010.

Even amid surging unemployment, falling consumer confidence and a lingering national housing crisis, health care expenses have quickly become the primary budget buster for millions of beleaguered Americans. According to a Harvard study recently reported in the LA Times, medical bills played a role in 62% of personal bankruptcies filed in 2007, up 7% from 2001. Shockingly, 78% of these filers actually had health insurance.

In short, medical bills mean making average American families financially “sick.”

As these staggering numbers reveal, medical expenses are still a primary reason many average people just like you end up filing for bankruptcy. While filing for bankruptcy is never an easy option, sometimes it feels like no amount of insurance appears to fully “insure” that bills will be covered in the event of an unexpected medical emergency, injury or illness. And, as many of you already know, medical bills are rarely small or even manageable, with any preexisting condition exacerbating even the minimal ability to get paltry coverage for these prior and future physical and mental ills.

According to The Huffington Post, “Companies and workers split premiums for employer-sponsored coverage, the most common form of health insurance in the United States, and employers generally pick up 70 percent of the bill or more.

Businesses likely reacted to these cost increases by giving a smaller raise or no wage increase to their workers, said Helen Darling, CEO of the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit organization that represents large employers on health care issues. ‘(Workers) basically are giving their pay raise to the health system,’ said Darling, who was not involved with the Kaiser study. ‘It's really bad news.’”

Bad news, indeed.

And while President Obama signed landmark health care legislation into law—meaning unprecedented changes for Americans seeking better medical insurance and facing crushing medical debt—for many these changes can’t come quickly enough. In reality, many of these specific reforms are years away. And many insured and uninsured people need more immediate financial help. If you are suffering from illness, injury and out of control debt, and considering filing a medical-related bankruptcy, it is important to understand that medical bills are considered unsecured debt and can be discharged entirely under Chapter 7. If you are instead filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your medical bills can still be eliminated, with a plan proposed to deal with your other secured debt like mortgages and car payments. In either situation, bankruptcy may be just what you need to help you get back on your financial feet again.

The bankruptcy professionals at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button and let these experts smoke out your next best financial steps.

 

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