The health care costs and insurance issue in the United States impacts not only the health of Mississippi residents, but often their financial stability. Medical debt is a top cause of personal bankruptcy filings.

Long gone may be the days when filing for bankruptcy was shameful or a sign of a financially irresponsible person or couple. An expensive medical situation a responsible person handles in the best possible way can land him or her in huge medical debt.

Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy

As reported by USA Today, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the leading cause of personal bankruptcies is unpaid medical bills that turn into large debts. In 2014, about four out of 10 Americans incurred debt from a medical problem.

One might expect that this would primarily be a problem for the uninsured. However, Kaiser notes that of the 25 percent of Americans who have difficulty paying medical bills, among them are those who buy health insurance independently and those who receive group health insurance through their jobs.

Many try to solve the problem by using savings or retirement to pay debt, or by getting an additional part-time job. With today’s high-deductible medical insurance policies and those with high co-pays and coinsurance, CNBC confirms that having health insurance is not insurance against huge medical debt.

Medical debt leads to other debt and skimping on necessities

In fact, medical debt often causes substantial credit card debt. Millions of people use credit cards to cover growing medical bills and buy themselves time. The high credit card interest then causes the credit card debt to grow, and often it becomes insurmountable.

Thus, a bankruptcy that includes a lot of credit card debt may, in reality, be a medical debt bankruptcy. It may also be ironic that many people skimp on prescriptions or even more expensive healthier food to attempt to pay at least something towards their medical debt.


Personal bankruptcy can be the most effective and legal method to get that fresh start without crushing medical debt. It creates a beginning point to gain back one’s control and choices in life.

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