Many in Salem may find it difficult to grasp just how great of a crippling effect medical debt can have on one’s finances. They also may fail to realize how pervasive the problem is in the. U.S. According to data shared by The Association of Credit and Collection Professionals, 41 percent of American adults encounter difficulties in affording their medical bills. Some may say that those struggling are likely only doing so because they are uninsured. However, ACA International has information from another national study that shows that only 13.1 percent of participants reported being uninsured.

It may be easier to comprehend why medical debt can be such a problem if one were to understand how high the cost of health care can be. Information shared by Health Affairs lists the top five most expensive medical conditions (along with their annual cost estimates) to be:

  •          Ischemic heart disease: $21.5 billion
  •          Motor vehicle accidents: $21.2 billion
  •          Acute respiratory infections: $17.9 billion
  •          Arthropathies (joint diseases): $15.9 billion
  •          Hypertension: $14.8 billion

Even with insurance coverage, one could be left with inordinate out-of-pocket expenses based upon his or her condition.

Yet the costs associated with medical conditions are not the only factors that can contribute to one’s financial struggles. The time required to recover can take away from one’s ability to work. The same research shared by Health Affairs shows respiratory cancer, cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, mood disorders, and motor vehicle accidents as being the most common medical causes behind missed worked days. Those suffering from these conditions missed an average of 28.7 days per year.

Few may be able to accrue such expenses or miss so much work and still do well financially. For those who do struggle, bankruptcy protection may be a viable option to help avoid the stresses of debt.