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Medical debt affects even those in South Carolina with insurance

It may be frustrating for many who struggle to keep their finances in order to hear accusations that they have reached this situation because of their own careless spending. Hearing advice to curb spending sprees and discipline their shopping habits may serve only to increase the stress for someone in South Carolina who is burdened with debt that has little to do with self-indulgence. In fact, medical debt remains the number one reason why Americans file for bankruptcy.

Having health insurance does not seem to make much difference. While about 40 percent of Americans have medical debt, a recent report shows that 20 percent of those younger than 65 struggled to pay medical bills despite having insurance. More than half of them admitted to having depleted their savings or taken a second job to try to pay their debt. Of course, if a serious or chronic illness or catastrophic accident is the reason for the medical debt, taking another job may not be a possibility.

Preempting this financial tragedy is the advice many financial counselors give. Creating an emergency account equaling living expenses for up to six months can provide a cushion for times when a medical emergency may leave one strapped. Unfortunately, most Americans have under $1,000 in savings, and over one third have no money saved at all. Counselors suggest those who have no savings reduce their leisure spending until they have sufficient funds put aside for emergencies.

Of course, those who are already drowning from the burden a medical emergency has placed on their budget may not have the resources to begin a savings program. In fact, they may already have simplified as much as possible to make ends meet. In such cases, South Carolina residents may consider seeking relief from medical debt by contacting an attorney who can discuss with them the alternatives and options available.

Source: USA Today, "This is the No. 1 reason Americans file for bankruptcy", Maurie Backman, Accessed on Aug. 5, 2017

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