The Affordable Care Act is one of the foremost political topics currently in discussion around the country, especially in states like New Hampshire. While this act has made it easier for some people to receive health insurance, the monthly costs of health insurance premiums are still impossible for some workers to afford. As a result, New Hampshire is one of the many states that has expanded Medicaid coverage for low-wage workers.

On March 27, Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill that will allow all adults in New Hampshire earning wages up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit to be eligible to receive Medicaid benefits. Prior to this bill, only adults with disabilities, single parents with children, and senior citizens living in poverty were eligible for the program. 

Approximately 26 other states have adopted the program to further develop the growth of Medicaid; meanwhile, many states have refused it and several others are still contemplating the expansion of Medicaid.

Many Americans, including thousands in New Hampshire, have lived without medical insurance for years because they could not afford the costly monthly fees. As a result, many New Hampshire residents have gone without necessary medical examinations and procedures.

When an emergency situation occurs for someone that does not have medical coverage, the financial risks can be great. Unexpected medical conditions for people without insurance can spell a variety of problems, including massive medical bills coupled with lost wages and/or disability.

Additionally, accruing medical debt can lead New Hampshire residents to max out their credit cards, leading them into even deeper debt. While the expansion of Medicaid may help some people afford medical care, suffering a sudden and expensive medical event can result in financial ruin even for those who are insured. In fact, medical debt is now the leading cause of bankruptcy.

Those who are struggling to get a handle on their medical debt may be wise to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney about their debt relief options. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible to arrange an affordable debt repayment plan or even discharge the debt entirely. It is important to seek reputable legal counsel when considering debt relief options such as bankruptcy.

Source: The Concord Monitor, “My Turn: A lot to learn from success of Medicaid expansion effort,” Jonathan P. Baird, April 6, 2014