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Many in Illinois have financial problems due to medical debt

A survey by the Commonwealth Fund indicates that an overwhelming 41 percent of people between the ages of 19 and 64 are struggling to pay their medical bills. Some people are paying over time where others simply can't pay at all. There are many people in Illinois whose financial problems may stem from a large amount of medical bills they are unable to pay off.

There are several factors attributed to this problem including the high cost of medical care, having no medical insurance and not having enough medical insurance. Beginning next year, when the Affordable Care Act takes effect, a large group of that 41 percent may go away. Under the act, adult children may stay on their parents' health insurance until their 26th birthday.

Unlike credit card debt, a mortgage or an auto loan, the amount of medical debt a person has is largely out of the control of the patient. This is especially true in the event of an emergency. Life saving procedures and hospital stays aren't something anyone in Illinois would opt for if given the choice, but they are necessary at times and can be quite expensive.

Once a person is shouldered with a large amount of medical debt that isn't covered by insurance, figuring out how to pay it can be a challenge. When this debt is added to an already difficult mortgage or car payment and mounting credit card bills, financial problems are inevitable. There are a variety of solutions for people with medical debt including filing for bankruptcy protection. Sometimes, the stress of not being able to pay bills can be a health hazard, and a fresh start could be just what the doctor ordered.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Millions struggling with medical debt," Pamela Yip, May 12, 2013

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