Most of Us are One Serious Illness Away from Bankruptcy
It does not take much to push a middle class family into bankruptcy. One serious illness will drive up medical expenses or put a breadwinner out of work. Most of my clients are not only facing debilitating medical issues, but also financial disaster. One of the main reasons for this is the current system in which this country pays for healthcare.
Despite a low unemployment rate, Georgia remains among the top three states in the nation for personal bankruptcy filings. While, statewide and nationally, bankruptcy filing numbers are dropping, Georgians still file for bankruptcy at two times the national average. The monthly filing rate in Georgia is 4.43 per 1000 people.
Last year, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that medical problems contributed to over 60% of bankruptcy filings. Medical bills account for over half of all unpaid invoices sent to collections each year. Even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 530,000 families suffer bankruptcies each year that are linked to illness and escalating medical bills. Medical bills contributed to 58.5% of bankruptcies; illness related income loss contributed to 44.3% of bankruptcies. Many debtors cited both issues as the reason for filing.