It is no secret that getting medical care is expensive. It is so expensive that many people in Virginia even avoid going to the doctor when they are sick because they are worried about affording their medical bills. This fear is understandable, as it is not uncommon for medical debt to push people into bankruptcy. Those who are on the brink of bankruptcy often sacrifice in other places as a way to try and stave off the inevitable, including cutting back on:
- Utility payments
- Other bills or necessities
Americans are drowning in medical debt
In 2019, Americans spent a whopping $3.8 trillion on medical care, averaging out to about $11,600 for every person in the country. In June 2020, around 18% of the population — or one out of every six people — were pursued by a debt collector for unpaid medical bills. Based on figures during that same time period, there is approximately $140 billion worth of medical debt in collections.
Medical bills are too steep
Most people in Virginia already do their best to avoid buying what they cannot afford. If someone cannot afford the payments on a luxury car, he or she can still buy a modest or used vehicle that fits in the budget. There is no option to tailor treatments to one’s budget in health care. If someone needs a surgery or experiences a medical crisis and needs immediate treatment, he or she has no control over what the bill will be. Despite the No Surprises Act many people still receive medical bills months after initially receiving services, too.
Those who struggle under the weight of too much debt often feel like failures, but the reality is that people have little to no control over medical debt. Even those with insurance are burdened with medical bills that far outweigh their abilities to pay. While bankruptcy might seem like a scary option, it is often the best path forward for those who are burdened by more debt than they can handle.