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Affordable Care Act expected to help with overwhelming debt

One's health is something that is not easily replaceable. Accordingly, people should take whatever precautions are available in order to avoid sickness and injury. However, life is unpredictable and many times a medical emergency is unavoidable. Unfortunately, this results in overwhelming debt from unexpected medical bills for consumers in Texas and in every other state.

In 2012 approximately 41 percent of adults between the ages of 19 and 64 admitted to either having problems keeping up with their medical bills or were currently paying off their debt from medical expenses over time, reported a Commonwealth Fund survey. The report also stated that there were many consumers who were currently carrying substantial amounts of medical debt. This debt could have caused many to be forced to file for personal bankruptcy.

Of those who stated they were paying off their medical debt, 29 percent admitted they had more than $4,000 worth of medical debt obligations, while 16 percent reported having $8,000 or more in unpaid medical bills. Experts believe that consumers are largely under-insured or uninsured which makes it more likely they will struggle with large medical bills. However, the Affordable Care Act which is set to be implemented in 2014 will allow more people to be insured by allowing adult children to stay on health insurance policies of their parents until the adult children reach 26 years of age.

Despite the expected increases of insured adults resulting from the Affordable Care Act, many people in Texas may still find themselves facing overwhelming debt as a result of medical bills. Although this may be worrisome for good reason, there are many options consumers have when faced with this situation. One possibility is filing for bankruptcy which may have the ability to discharge much of the remaining medical debt.

Source: Dallas News, "Millions struggling with medical debt," Pamela Yip, May 13, 2013

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