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Medical debt a problem for middle class South Carolina residents

There are a number of misconceptions regarding bankruptcy. Some believe that bankruptcy is only for the wealthy trying to avoid paying debts that have spiraled out of control. Others believe that bankruptcy is used by individuals who have somehow wasted their money and are now looking for a way to escape their situation. Yet, reality for the South Carolina resident is that the majority of those who can and do benefit from bankruptcy are average, middle-class individuals and families.

Research indicates that the average person who files for bankruptcy has a job, a house and a family. However, some life event occurred that changed the family's financial picture. Perhaps one of the individuals lost their job, a divorce occurred or a family member became seriously ill. These are the most common causes of bankruptcy, yet in many cases, they are unavoidable.

At least one study indicates that medical debt is involved in a minimum of 60 percent of bankruptcy filings. Additionally, these are not individuals who lack health insurance. Of this 60 percent, over 70 percent do have health insurance; however, their medical bills still exceed what insurance will pay and what they can afford to pay. In an effort to pay bills, credit cards are maxed out and savings are depleted. When this happens, the individual or family is left with bills to pay and no way to keep up with them.

Medical debt is a serious problem for many South Carolina families, yet many continue to struggle rather than seeking a way out. Bankruptcy can provide the relief necessary to begin the recovery process. Experienced legal counsel can review the situation and recommend the best way to address the problem.

Source: marketplace.org, "Personal bankruptcy is not a rich people problem", Jana Kasperkevic, April 10, 2018

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