In a 2013 survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, respondents were asked if the cost of medication had caused them to go without it in the last year. Of the adults who answered, 27 percent responded “yes.” An analyst with the Commonwealth Fund said that percentage represents an estimated 50 million individuals. More than 20 percent of the respondents who had insurance said “yes,” a 43 percent of those who were uninsured said “yes.”
Even as the Affordable Care Act has expanded insurance for millions of people who otherwise didn’t have it, the cost of prescription drugs is still too high for many Americans. If you have a chronic illness, then you may pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs, even though you have health insurance. Many people also have to resort to using their credit cards to pay for medications each month.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently looked at consumers’ credit reports and found that, of all the accounts that were sent to collection, 52 percent were in collection because of medical-related debt. The report echoes NerdWallet’s 2013 finding that the leading cause of consumer bankruptcy in the United States is medical debt.
The cost of prescription drugs is a major factor in many people’s bankruptcy filings, perhaps especially for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol. In fact, out-of-pocket prescription drug costs came to $41 billion for Americans in 2013, according to the federal government.
If your medical debt is overwhelming, then you are not alone. People throughout Texas are struggling to cover medical bills, mortgage payments, credit card bills and car payments. You can learn more about debt relief at our bankruptcy website.
Source: CNBC, “Medication costs fuel painful medical debt, bankruptcies,” Dan Mangan, May 28, 2014