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Medical expenses a leading cause of bankruptcy

Many Tyler residents never imagine that they will need to consider filing for bankruptcy. For a large number of people, personal bankruptcy also equates to a personal failure. They do not want to be "that person" who doesn't pay his or her debts and decides to find a legal way of avoiding them. However, the reality is that there are numerous reasons why a person might face financial difficulty. There could be unexpected life changes, a failed business or medical expenses that make it necessary. It is only then that they realize that bankruptcy is a strategy rather than an avoidance.

One of the most common ways that people can run up heavy debt very fast is through medical problems. A 2013 study indicated that more than 20 percent of Americans are having an issue paying their medical expenses. Of all bankruptcies, around 60 percent are because of medical debt. It's not simply the medical issues that can cause financial problems. Often, if there is a medical problem that will mean the individual is not able to fulfill his or her normal duties with work. The loss of income that comes from not working along with the accruing medical bills makes it an exponential series of challenges.

To account for a shortfall, many might take out high-interest loans or use credit cards to get by. This will do little more than delay the inevitable and, eventually, exacerbate the struggles. Even those who have health coverage are vulnerable. According to the above-mentioned research, around 10 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 were covered but still had bills they couldn't pay. Taking steps to ensure protection in the worst case scenario only goes so far.

One hurdle for those Texans who are facing financial challenges is getting over the stigma many associate with filing for bankruptcy. It is something that people from all walks of society have needed to do and have done so successfully. If a person has medical debt and it has caused major bills that they cannot pay, the first call that the debtor should make is to an experienced attorney to discuss the available options for getting back on stronger financial ground.

Source: WMUR.com, "Money Matters: Avoiding a medical disaster," Marc Herbert, Sept. 24, 2015

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