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Cancer diagnosis can lead to serious medical debt

On Behalf of | May 29, 2019 | Bankruptcy

For people in Texas facing a serious medical diagnosis, debt may be a major concern. Medical debt poses a serious problem for far too many Americans, even those with health insurance. Around 20% of insured Americans continue to struggle to pay off medical debt. Many providers may be considered out-of-network, and the costs of prescription medication alone can skyrocket dramatically.

When people receive a cancer diagnosis, they may be as concerned about the financial and credit implications of their treatment as they are with the medical procedures that they are about to undertake. This is backed up by good reason: Cancer patients are more than twice as likely to declare bankruptcy as people who do not have cancer. Medical debt can be one significant contributor as costs can go up to $12,000 for just one lifesaving medication, and treatment costs average around $150,000.

There are some tactics that people can use to work to reduce their risk of medical debt as they work to improve their health. For example, patients can ask their treatment providers for detailed information about the costs of different kinds of visits and procedures, including lab tests, inpatient and outpatient care, medications and caregivers. They can also work in advance with their insurers to advocate for the highest level of coverage to minimize out-of-pocket costs.

Since January 2019, American hospitals are required to post a list of potential costs faced by patients. This information can be critical to help people budget and plan ahead. Informed patients are better able to advocate for themselves and the treatment that they need.

Of course, even the strongest patient advocacy cannot always address the problem of skyrocketing medical bills. People who are facing insurmountable medical debt might consult with an attorney about their options to seek relief, including personal bankruptcy.