Columbia Cancer Survivors Face Debts & Often Bankruptcy

Medical care is expensive, even after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Insurance deductibles may be very high, out-of-network care may not be covered but may be necessary, and essential prescription medications are not always paid for. These problems can be issues for everyone, but for people who develop a serious and life-threatening condition like cancer, the costs can be astronomical. cancer-1427563

The expenditures many people are forced to bear when they get cancer can ruin a family budget, which is why NBC News reports many cancer patients end up facing burdensome debts and some end up filing for bankruptcy. If you have unpaid medical bills and are being subject to aggressive collection efforts, you should not have to cope with this financial stress in addition to dealing with the recovery process and any lingering health concerns. A chapter 7 bankruptcy can get rid of medical debt so you can have a fresh start.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy May be the Answer to Resolving Problems with Cancer Debts

Cancer care costs have outpaced the cost increases in other areas of medicine, which is a big problem considering healthcare spending in general outpaces economic growth. For new cancer therapy agents on the market, average costs have reached $10,000 per month. Some therapies can cost as much as $60,000 per month. These treatments can be life-saving, but insurers may cover only some of the costs or no costs at all if the treatment is considered too new or experimental to be part of a health policy.

Patients deserve to get the best care possible, but this leaves many cancer patients with very high bills when their treatment has been concluded. One study of 4,719 cancer survivors between the ages of 18 and 64 found a full third of the patients had gone into debt as a result of their cancer diagnosis. In more than half of the cases where the patients had taken on medical debt, the amount owed in medical bills was in excess of $10,000. The costs are driven not just by experimental therapies but also expenses associated with hospitalization, surgery, and other medical fees.

Compounding the problem with high costs is the fact many cancer treatments like surgery and chemotherapy can put patients out of commission for weeks or months. When work becomes impossible, cancer patients may have to take extended time off or stop working altogether. The loss of the cancer patient's income contributions to the household can create financial stress, even when they have good insurance which fully covers medical expenditures. Family members of cancer patients often end p working longer hours in an attempt to compensate for income losses, but this is not always possible- especially when taking on caregiver responsibilities.

Despite the fact so many cancer patients are in debt, only around three percent of cancer survivors end up filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy rates for cancer patients are more than twice as high as bankruptcy rates for others, there are likely more cancer patients who could benefit from bankruptcy instead of spending years struggling to get past medical costs paid off. Filing bankruptcy to wipe out debt is far better than living with medical debt for decades, so don't hesitate to get help finding out if bankruptcy is a good choice in your situation.

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