CDC: 1 in 4 households struggles with medical debt

Arizona families feeling overwhelmed by expensive medical bills aren't alone, according to data from a 2012 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intended to shed light on the sheer number of families in America facing difficulties with paying for their medical care. The data, compiled in a report released in 2014, suggests that more than 25 percent of U.S. households struggle with overwhelming medical debt.

Families with children are more likely to experience financial hardship when it comes to medical costs while childless households seem to be more likely to set up a payment plan to pay off the bills. Further, families who live at or below the poverty line also experience more difficulty in paying for these bills than families who live above the poverty line.

Households in which there is a mixture of various insurance coverage types or in which one or more than one member lack insurance coverage tend to face more difficulty in paying off their bills, the data also found. Households in which all members had private medical insurance tend to face less difficulty paying for their medical expenses.

However, even in situations where all family members had either public or private insurance coverage in 2012, 21 percent still faced difficulty paying for their medical care. The numbers rose somewhat sharply for households in which only some members had public or private insurance coverage to 35.8 percent experiencing difficulty paying for their medical expenses. In situations where all members of a household had no insurance coverage whatsoever, their likelihood of having difficulty paying for their medical bills went up to almost 40 percent.

It is evident by these statistics that there is a growing number of individuals for whom paying for hospital and other medical bills is an extreme financial hardship that may be making it difficult to meet other financial obligations. Consumer bankruptcy may be a viable way for these individuals to resolve their debt and make a fresh financial start. A bankruptcy lawyer could provide more information and guidance as to the most suitable type of bankruptcy for a person's specific situation.

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