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Medical debt has an impact on everyone in the family

The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for many otherwise uninsured Americans to acquire insurance. However, it seems to have had little effect on the surging medical debt problem in our nation. More than half of the personal bankruptcy filings in America have been influenced by medical bills. Many Pennsylvania residents have become burdened by medical debt and have discovered that its impact reaches every member of the family in some way.

In conjunction with the New York Times, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey on how medical debt has impacted American families. Nearly half of the participants reported that medical bills have had a "major impact" on their families. Of particular interest is how the figures were almost the same for those with insurance and those without. Specifically, 44 percent of those with insurance indicated medical bills had a major impact on their families while 45 percent of those without insurance reported the same.

Some of the reported ways in which medical debt has affected American families include:

-- Making significant sacrifices to pay medical bills

-- Being unable to make mortgage payments

-- Cutting back on groceries and other basic needs

-- Reducing the dosage of necessary medications

-- Being unable to do enough for the children

-- Increasing other debt to pay medical bills

What can Pennsylvania citizens do about medical debt? First, do not ignore the situation as your bills will likely only increase due to interest. Second, check each and every one of your medical bills for accuracy as errors often occur. Third, consider your legal options and think about consulting with a bankruptcy attorney. If the word bankruptcy sends you into a panic, you should know that there are non-bankruptcy options you can talk about with your lawyer.

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