Whether someone needs medical care due to an unexpected medical condition or can’t cover their hospital bills because they are unable to work, there are many reasons why people end up with significant medical debt. In Salem, New Hampshire, and around the country, those who run the risk of accumulating medical debt should understand how widespread the problem is and focus on some of the causes.

According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one in four American families faced financial difficulties due to medical debt in 2012. Additionally, low-income families and those who had children 17 years old and younger were more likely to encounter financial hardships as a result of medical care. Also, if one family member was uninsured, the family had a higher probability of experiencing financial challenges due to medical costs. From lack of insurance to low income, there are a number of factors that may increase the chances of someone struggling with medical debt. For people in this position, it is critical to do everything they can to prevent unmanageable debt from turning their life upside down.

On the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website, a number of helpful strategies are listed for those who do not want to become overburdened by medical debt. People are reminded to closely review and keep copies of all their medical bills, know exactly what their insurance covers, make sure their health insurance provider has accurate information and resolve disputes as soon as possible. Other tips include negotiating bills when possible, looking into financial assistance and not paying medical bills with credit cards.