Skyrocketing debt typically includes credit cards, student loans and mortgages, but for more than 135 million individuals, medical costs have caused the greatest hardship. As reported by CNBC, a high amount of unpaid medical bills is the number one reason to consider bankruptcy. 

Individuals surveyed claimed that they would empty a savings account or retirement plan to reduce their medical bills. For many Americans, the cost of health care has increased due to the rise in co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses. While hospitals, facilities and physicians may offer patients a payment plan, it often remains a struggle to keep up. 

The cycle of debt can affect health  

With stagnant wages, job loss or employees working fewer hours, maintaining a health care payment plan in addition to a mortgage and household bills can become a challenging task. Deciding between paying a credit card debt or an overdue medical bill may lead to excessive stress, anxiety or depression, which, in itself, may worsen a declining health condition. As reported by NBC News Digital, researchers analyzing heart health, blood pressure and glucose levels of 4,600 survey participants found that the recent financial recession had a negative effect. 

Consumer debt reached an all-time high of more than $4 trillion at the end of 2019, according to data provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Combined with outstanding mortgages, the household, medical and consumer debts of Americans reached more than $14 trillion. The individuals who showed the most noticeable debt-related deterioration in their health were homeowners. 

Debt relief may rescue home and health 

Personal bankruptcy can generally discharge most hospital bills and doctors’ fees. Worsening health effects caused by insurmountable medical debts and the threat of losing a home may require some families and homeowners to seek relief through a bankruptcy petition. Discharging medical bills along with accumulated consumer debts through a bankruptcy plan may provide an individual with the means to keep his or her home while also getting a fresh start on life.