Most people know that just — that all it takes is one bill to have a significant financial setback. In fact receiving one large emergency room bill, or set of hospital bills after a diagnosis of a medical condition can lead to filing bankruptcy. Although new research shows that there may be more common reasons to file bankruptcy than for medical reasons. In the past, medical reasons were one of the leading factors in a person’s decision to file for bankruptcy.
There is no doubt that medical bills can push patients over a very difficult financial cliff. But according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, hospitalization only contributes to approximately 4% of personal bankruptcies. This research analyzed the credit reports of more than 500,000 adults under age 65 in California, who went to the hospital between 2003 and 2007 for reasons other than childbirth.
A major surgery or a series of medical bills can set you back significantly. If you can’t keep on top of the bills, then you’re facing the prospect of bankruptcy.
Although they did identify that some patients clearly were forced into bankruptcy in the years immediately following their stay in the hospital, it didn’t happen as frequently as other research on this exact same issue indicated. This analysis also included a bigger range of people than previous research. The previous research had only explored those who had already chosen to file for bankruptcy protection.
Despite what this study says, a significant medical bill can leave you without the opportunity to go back to work, and can cause a significant disruption in your family’s life if you are not able to get back on top of the financial challenges. Consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer today to learn more about how to protect yourself.
Any bankruptcy lawyer can help you figure out when to file and how you can benefit from the protections of filing your bankruptcy petition.