With Medical Bills, 'Patients Who Can Least Afford It Often Get The Highest Bills'

As a Chicago Tribune story noted on August 29, 2012, a 2005 Harvard study found medical bills are the No. 1 cause of bankruptcy in the United States. However, the Tribune also pointed out that about 30 percent of the $2.6 trillion spent each year on health costs does not actually help patients. Steven Weinberger, CEO and executive vice president of the American College of Physicians, told the Tribune that in some cases, it actually hurts them.

"The lack of transparency about prices within the medical system is staggering," Weinberger told the Tribune. "There is a cloud of secrecy over the whole system, and the patients who can least afford it often get the highest bills."

One person the article cited as an example of this was recent medical school graduate Andrew Levy. He suffered a torn cartilage in his knee before going to medical school, and told the Tribune that his doctor ordered an MRI. Because he had a $3,000 deductible on his health insurance, it would have cost Levy between $700 and $2,500 depending on the facility.

However, he learned that he really did not need the test after all. "This was nuts to pay $700 out of my pocket for a test I didn’t need," Levy told the Tribune. "And I keep this in mind, that this is what my patients are going through."

Medical bills are indeed a common reason for many individuals to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and we will offer some other options in our next post that can help your family deal with high medical bills. If you need help now, use the form located on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy lawyers review your case or contact our firm today at (866) 930-7482 to schedule a free consultation.

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