• High Costs of Getting Well Leaves Millions Worried Sick About Medical Bills

    As we mentioned on Wednesday, staggering health care costs continue to be one of the leading reasons that many Americans file bankruptcy. Because anybody can get sick, medical bills affect people all of age groups.

    The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch reported on September 17, 2012, that a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that health care costs in the last five years of an individual’s life can be much bigger than most people anticipate. The report said average out-of-pocket expenditures for Medicare beneficiaries in the five years prior to death were $38,688 for individuals and $51,030 for couples in which one spouse dies.  Additionally, MarketWatch also reported that more than three-quarters of households spent at least $10,000 in that five-year period, and 11 percent of single and 9 percent of married households spent more than $100,000.

    Just as medical costs affect people in the later years of life, they also create a substantial burden for families who are bringing new ones into the world. Reuters reported on September 18, 2012, that out-of-pocket expenses for labor and delivery increased 74 percent between 2004 and 2009. Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey showed mothers paid an average $1,148 out of pocket in 2009 after averaging $661 five years prior.

    Reuters reported that 26-year-old Lindsay Durrenberger said her Blue Cross Blue Shield plan covered most of her $8,000 in birthing expenses, but “she was surprised that opting for an epidural meant she paid $550 for the out-of-pocket cost to the anesthesiologist.” She was also billed $200 for two pediatrician visits while in the hospital and $400 for her son’s circumcision. Durrenberger told Reuters that she expects to pay $1349 out-of-pocket for the birth.

    “At this point, it’s kind of nerve-wracking,” Durrenberger told Reuters. “I’m still waiting for the bomb to drop.”

    If your family is struggling to pay medical bills, you may be able to eliminate that debt by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or you could significantly reduce the amount you owe by filing Chapter 13 . If you want to know what options you have, complete the form on this page to have our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys review your case or take action now by contacting our firm at (866) 930-7482.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyers

  • With Copays Rising, Is Bankruptcy Your Best Medicine?

    One of the most common reasons homeowners are finding themselves needing foreclosure help is the cost of medical bills. People already struggling through hard times to pay for medication may have to struggle a little more, as the Associate Press reported on November 16, 2011, that a report from Avalare Health found that copays for preferred brand-name drugs would increase by 40 percent on average next year. Non-preferred brands will average nearly 30 percent more.

    However, the AP said that copays for generics will remain stable for preferred drugs, and go down for non-preferred. The annual open enrollment period for senior citizens to change their Medicare prescription plan ends December 7. The AP said monthly premiums for Medicare drug plans are expected to average about the same next year.

    On November 3, 2011, the Free Republic reported that the American Journal of Medicine said medical bills are a factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Furthermore, approximately 75 percent of bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.

    If past medical bills or the rising costs of medication are making it difficult to pay your mortgage, you should know that our Chicago bankruptcy attorney can help you consolidate, reorganize or even eliminate your debt through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer

  • Record Number of Americans Living in Poverty

    While the Census Bureau reported that there are 46.6 million people, or 15.1 percent of Americans, living poverty in 2010 under the decades-old official measure that considers only food costs and before-tax income, a new formula is trying to provide a fuller picture. The Associated Press reported on November 7, 2011, that a supplemental measure from the Census Bureau shows a record 49.1 million Americans, or 16 percent, lived in poverty in 2010.

    With millions of Americans needing foreclosure help or considering bankruptcy , the new measure takes a variety of expenses into consideration, including food, shelter, clothing and utilities, as well as accounting for different sources of income like food stamps and housing subsidies. According to the AP, Americans 65 or older sustained the largest increases in poverty when broken down by groups under the revised poverty formula, nearly doubling to 15.9 percent. Medical expenses such as rising Medicare premiums, deductibles and expenses for prescription drugs are not accounted for in the official rate.

    The AP noted that economists and anti-poverty experts “continue to differ widely on how best to calculate poverty,” and the Census Bureau acknowledged that its new measure remains a “work in progress.” You do not need to be formally recognized as living in poverty in order to pass the bankruptcy means test , but our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can show you how filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could very well be the fresh start you need to get back on your feet.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney