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If you’re someone without health insurance, you could face paying $220 for a doctor’s office visit, $450 for routine blood work, $70 for a prescription drug, and $2,450 for an overnight stay in the intensive care unit at your local hospital.
Looking at these costs, it’s no wonder why having medical expenses is among the top reasons people end up in bankruptcy.
In fact, researchers of a Harvard study found that medicalproblems caused 62% of all 2007 personal bankruptcies filed in the United States. Another study cited that half of the average consumers filing for bankruptcy between 1990 and 2009 had experienced a serious health problem. While figures may be a bit dated, the problem is clear: soaring healthcare expenses are causing financial hardships that many Americans are ill-prepared to endure.
"For middle-class Americans, health insurance offers little protection,” said Dr. David Himmelstein, lead author of the Harvard study. “Most of us have policies with so many loopholes, co-payments, and deductibles that illness can put you in the poorhouse. Unless you're Warren Buffett, your family is just one serious illness away from bankruptcy."
And it’s not just the direct medical costs that can lead to bankruptcy. There are also other related issues to contend with, such as the loss of job income due to missed work or the possibility of having to resign from working altogether, depending on the situation; this leaves consumers without any income to stave off mounting medical expenses.
So, what can you do to prevent this from happening to you? Listed below are some simple steps to help position you (and your family) properly so that you can avoid bankruptcy.
While a lot of these ideas aren’t rocket science or revolutionary in their thinking, these basic tenets of good health and good money management can help you avoid bankruptcy should you face major medical issues down the road. Taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to take care of your wallet.
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