In the United States, medical debt outpaces all other forms of debt including student loans and credit card debts. That is the unfortunate truth of the matter, and it is a problem that seems to just keep getting more and more acute as the cost of healthcare continues to increase.
It is worth noting that, when compared to other first world countries, healthcare costs in the US are disproportionately large to begin with. In general, US citizens pay more for healthcare than anywhere else in the world. Additionally, the cost of medical procedures differs greatly from one provider to the next, sometimes by a huge margin.
There are many reasons why people find themselves in varying degrees of medical debt, but some of the most common include:
- Uncovered medical expenses
Because many people are unfamiliar with the insurance plan that they are on and don’t know its details through and through – they often end up taking on medical expenses that aren’t covered. It could be in the form of an out-of-network provider, pharmacy, or perhaps even procedure. But, the bottom line is that these expenses can quickly add up and sometimes even amount to a hefty individual bill.
- Billing errors
It is surprising how often hospital bills contain errors, but unfortunately most people don’t actually check their medical bills as thoroughly as they should. That in turn leads to billing errors often going unnoticed and simply adding to their debt.
- Paying with credit cards
While there is nothing wrong with covering a medical expense using a credit card, it can become an issue if that debt isn’t paid off immediately. Because of the high interest rate on credit cards, accumulating medical debt on one can spiral out of control and if you don’t know how to get out of credit card debt it will just keep getting worse.
All these causes contribute to medical debts piling up, but as you may have noticed – they can be avoided. By making sure you are intimately acquainted with your medical insurance plan, checking your medical bill, and not letting debts pile up on your credit card – you can ensure that you don’t end up with an unmanageable pile of debt.
On top of that, there are also other measures that you can take, such as researching the cost of medical procedures in different hospitals, going for regular checkups, and keeping yourself generally healthy. While it is true that none of these will help you to avoid medical debts completely, they can help you to minimize your risk of being overwhelmed by them.
Simply put, despite the fact that the healthcare situation in the US is far from perfect, it can be navigated if you are proactive about it. Considering just how much of a risk medical debt can be, it makes sense to take as many measures as you can to ensure that you are always on top of things and able to stay as debt-free as possible.
Article Submitted By Community Writer