When most people think about having to file for bankruptcy, they think of people who have amassed massive credit card debt. What most individuals don’t consider is that many people who are contemplating bankruptcy are in this position because of a medical condition or emergency.

Mounting medical bills are common when a person has a sudden illness or injury. Even people who have better health care insurance might be shocked by what’s not covered and what has to be paid out of pocket.

Prevalence of the problem

While most doctors’ officers won’t report past due debts to credit bureaus, they will turn them over to collection agencies. These agencies will place those accounts on the credit report of the debtor. One in six Americans have medical bills that are past due on their credit report.

Around three-fourths of adults from 20 to 65 in this country note that they are insured but that they can’t pay their medical bills. This comes from the 2016 National Health Interview Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Interestingly, around 53 percent of these were less than $600 each. The total is $81 billion. Adults who were 27 years old had the largest share of the debts. This is troubling because it is an age where you would expect people to be fairly healthy. However, it is also one year after they lose the ability to remain on their parents’ health insurance.

Desperate decisions to make

Seeing the medical bills coming in can be hard to handle. Most people want to pay their bills and feel a desperation to take care of them. Some individuals will use credit cards to pay the bills. They will still have to pay the debt but now they could be racking up higher interest charges.

Unfortunately, some people choose to pay their medical bills and then can’t afford other bills. This puts them in a difficult situation since they need to pay life’s necessities. The alternative answer for some people is to not get medical care if they don’t think they can afford it. This extreme measure to stay out of debt can prove disastrous.

If you are swimming in debt due to medical bills, explore bankruptcy. You might find that this option provides you with the fresh start that you need to get your finances back on track.