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The Forgotten Pandemic of Medical Debt

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Published April 24, 2019

Today, Americans can be more afraid of medical bills than they are of illness. Unfortunately, in the U.S., medical debt has plagued the masses. Americans are spending more on healthcare—$9,000 per person on average—than any other country. That makes the U.S. the most expensive country in which to be sick on planet earth.

Healthcare in America

At first glance, many would assume that hospitals work on a not-for-profit basis; however, that can be a myth. For-profit hospitals occupy several states in the U.S. Unfortunately, both for-profit and non-profit hospitals have their downfalls.

The difference between not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals isn’t vast, but the differences that do separate the two are critical. When profiting is one focus and maintaining enough operational costs, and or cutting costs is another, philosophies can differ. The former is managed for business success and the other by service – and that can vastly change the patient billing experience.

The Consequences

Strapped for cash, many Americans have difficulty paying for an unexpected $500 medical bill, but it gets worse. In 2009, President Obama addressed medical debt in his State of the Union address. In it, he stated that medical bankruptcy occurred every 30 seconds in the U.S. That’s equal to 1 million bankruptcies every year.

Is There Any Hope?

The Affordable Care Act, implemented during the Obama administration, is helping Americans with medical debt. Others, such as the Brookings Institution have recommended that not-for-profit hospitals with the most funds forgive or reduce the cost of coverage for those who can’t afford it.

You may not be able to change healthcare in America just yet, but that doesn’t mean that you should let medical bills take you down. A personal loan may help you better manage your medical bill payments by consolidating them into one payment and paying down your debt over a more manageable timeframe.  Learn more about Laurel Road’s personal loans here.

Sources:

https://www.statnews.com/2017/10/30/medical-debt-states/

https://www.thebalance.com/medical-bankruptcy-statistics-4154729

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2018-03-29/poll-americans-fear-crippling-medical-bills-more-than-illness

https://www.statnews.com/2017/10/30/medical-debt-states/

https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/finance/top-5-differences-between-nfps-and-profit-hospitals

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