Study: Medical costs can lead to bankruptcy

A recent study finds that unexpected medical costs can have a devastating financial impact on families both with and without health insurance, resulting in a growing share of bankruptcies nationwide.

A recent study finds that unexpected medical costs can have a devastating financial impact on families both with and without health insurance, resulting in a growing share of bankruptcies nationwide.

A study from researchers at Harvard University and Ohio University recently found that as of 2007, a family would file for bankruptcy due to medical costs every 90 seconds, three quarters of whom were insured.

The researchers found that medical-related bankruptcies increased almost 50 percent from 2001 to 2007 and that over 60 percent of all U.S. bankruptcies in 2007 had been related to medical costs.

While families in medical bankruptcy faced significant out of pocket medical costs on average, those who had insurance still tended to owe less, according to the study. Among those who did have health coverage, one common problem was that they were under-insured for the medical issues that would later come up.

The recent economy has more Americans than ever in the market for private health insurance policies in light of an unemployment rate that has been edging steadily towards 10 percent nationwide.

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Posted: July 15, 2009

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