Medical bills are a significant source of debt for many American households. In the United States, health care costs are behind more than $88 billion of consumer debt.
Any hospital visit or emergency treatment can quickly become a financial nightmare, but certain medical problems are more costly or require more frequent care than others.
Most medical debt comes from specific diseases and conditions such as heart disease or gastrointestinal problems. Costly treatment is a major reason why so many Americans choose to reduce debt burdens by filing for bankruptcy.
As with specific diseases, chronic pain and injuries usually require ongoing treatment, and medical bills can add up for a long time.
When the unexpected happens, such as a car accident or a broken bone, medical debt is often the result of turning to credit cards without any other options.
Surgery, both emergency and planned, is among the most costly one-time medical expenses. Whether it is the knee, back or another type of surgery, these procedures often cost more than average-income households are ready to take on.
For some individuals, teeth are a top concern leading to high medical debt. Because many people do not have adequate or any dental insurance, they may have to cover dental expenses out of pocket.
According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, other top medical conditions that lead to debt include mental health issues, pregnancies and infections such as pneumonia and the flu. Whatever the reason for high medical debt, struggling adults should know that there is help out there.