People fear becoming sick for many different reasons. Some worry about missing work, while others struggle with caring for themselves. However, one of the biggest fears concerning sickness might just be medical bills. Even South Carolina consumers who have excellent health insurance can still be sidelined by overwhelming medical debt from an unexpected illness or injury. The problem of medical debt is so incredibly pervasive that a group of nurses took matters into their own hands.
The out-of-state nurse’s group set out to raise money to help those in their state struggling with medical debt. A nurse from the group pointed out that they witnessed many local families experience financial ruin over health care, and that it was difficult to see these families unable to seek essential care for both their children and themselves. The nurses worked with two different groups to effectively wipe out $1 million worth of medical debt in their state.
Some 500 families had their medical debt wiped clean, which would put each family’s average debt at $2,000, although it is likely that some families carried more debt while others had less. The group is not stopping at this project, as it acknowledges that, while a good start, wiping away debt will not totally solve the problem. It is currently urging non-profit hospitals to implement policy changes that would help patients suffering from immense amounts of medical debt.
Medical debt can be a roadblock on the path to a secure financial future. It is one of the main reasons that people in South Carolina and the rest of the United States file for bankruptcy protection, and at least one in five filings mention delinquent payments for medical debt. Most people find that personal bankruptcy is the most effective option for dealing with impossible medical bills, and find that their financial footing becomes more secure as they move through the process.
Source: wxyz.com, “Nurses band together to rid $1M in medical debt for Michigan families”, Nov. 10, 2017