“Debt can feel like the heaviest burden in life.” ~ Suze Orman
Declaring bankruptcy is a very serious action with stressful consequences even beyond the challenges of life before filing for bankruptcy and credit repair after bankruptcy. Unfortunately, this still seems to be the only way out of debt for millions of American families every year.
It is especially shocking that the major cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is medical bills. And even more shocking is the fact that most of those forced into bankruptcy by medical expenses actually had medical insurance!
Modern medicine is becoming more and more expensive for patients due to hi-tech procedures and methods of medication, vaccination, surgeries and diagnostics. In fact, it is becoming financially more and more difficult to afford advanced treatments for the majority of the population. In addition, many times unexpected or unpredictable side-effects are on the increase, which simply means extended care and more expenses.
Traps of Health Insurances
And if it is not enough to become seriously ill or injured, unable to work, with job and income in jeopardy, it also seems like the health insurance companies do not really stand by their clients’ side when most needed. Too many times an insured individual doesn’t even realize the extent of uncovered medical conditions until the doctor’s office/hospital checks the insurance policy and starts sending bills. And it doesn’t really make any difference if you were paying your premiums for decades and never used your insurance to cover a medical bill before.
Clever rules (hidden in fine print), including high co-payments and deductibles the health insurance companies use, are written not just to make a decent return, but to make vast profits for medical insurance providers, not to support the insured and their families in times of need.
At the same time, approximately 9 million children in the United States are uninsured. Parents do not take them to the doctor at the first signs of disease because they are afraid of the cost. In some cases, the child’s illness worsens to the point where the parent is forced to miss work or even quit a job to nurse the child until it gets well again. Unfortunately, nursing a family member (by a family member) back to health does not help this family’s financial health in any way.
In short, one can lose everything because of illness in the richest country in the world – and the only advanced country with no universal health insurance. That is not very likely to happen in Canada or Europe, where medical insurance is separated from employment.
Major Cause of Bankruptcy
Several studies show that medical expenses are a major cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. not just among the poor, but also among the middle and working class – families who often have medical insurance. For most uninsured the insurance premiums are simply unaffordable.
Since a bankruptcy stays on one’s credit report for a decade, it makes other payments like mortgage and car insurance more expensive or even out of the reach, and makes applying for another (much needed) job much harder. Many debtors continue having troubles paying their mortgage or rent and utility bills, all that mirroring in emotional and financial exhaustion.
“During the two years before filing 40.3 percent had lost telephone service; 19.4 percent had gone without food; 53.0 percent had gone without needed doctor or dentist visits because of the cost; and 43.0 percent had failed to fill a prescription, also because of the cost. Medical debtors experienced more problems in access to care than other debtors did; three-fifths went without a needed doctor or dentist visit, and nearly half failed to fill a prescription.” (David Himmelstein, Health Tracking Marketwatch)
The Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 was supposed to prevent abusive bankruptcies. What it really did was make the filing process harder. “Harder not just in terms of requirements, but in also that filing became harder to afford.” (Gayle Ronan, MSNBC.com)
According to Boohaker (bankruptcy attorney and a certified financial planner) ‘the biggest misperception surrounding bankruptcy remains that bankruptcy is a lifestyle choice overspending consumers use to absolve themselves of debt obligations so they can spend anew.’ She says that typically, ‘any excessive use of credit occurs after a catastrophic event like a divorce, job loss or medical issue sends them scrambling to pay bills.’
These unhappy events are not something anybody wants in their life but they do happen at least once in a lifetime to most people. Therefore, an act, even though it dictates protection in its title, is not really protecting or helping the ones who are unfortunate enough to need the help.
In Western societies most people believe that the health-care system is accountable for responding and taking care in times of uneasiness or disorder. These so-called modern civilizations were training their citizens for centuries to become more and more dependent on different institutions and medical care is no exception. Luckily, there are still different choices available to anyone who is open for possibilities and willing to take charge and responsibility.
Naturopathic and holistic health procedures are a lot more user-friendly and by far cheaper than traditional biomedicine’s ones. They take into account the whole life-style (body – mind approach) which means the improvement of our eating and exercising habits, the elimination of addictions and the adoption of a healthier attitude toward life. This alternative approach to wellness can greatly reduce if not completely eliminate most disorders. It’s easy to find the best providers: just ask at your local health-food store.
For those who are ready to take charge of their lives completely, some more research in the area of ‘working with the Secret’ or the ‘Healing Codes’ would be something to look into. Choose to live your life the way you want and at the same time be happy and healthy, without being dependent on any-one or any-thing – whenever possible.