According to NBC News, cancer patients are at much greater risk of filing for bankruptcy than people without cancer. The news outlet reported, “While the new health care law promises insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans who lack it now, the high cost of cancer care can push many patients, especially younger women, into financial trouble.”
Researchers with the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research in Seattle and lead author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs studied 197,840 adults from a western Washington cancer registry with an equal number of cancer-free adults by age, zip code and sex. They then determined who had filed for bankruptcy, using court records.
According to NBC News, “researchers found that 4,408 of those diagnosed with cancer between 1995 and 2009 had filed for bankruptcy, compared to 2,291 of those without cancer. Overall, cancer patients were 2.5 times as likely as others to file for bankruptcy.”
Bankruptcy rates for younger groups were up to 10 times than that of older patients. “People who have fewer assets, less income and less generous insurance because of entry level jobs or no insurance are more vulnerable to severe financial distress,” Dr. Scott Ramsey, director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research in Seattle told NBC News.
It should come as no surprise that cancer increases a person’s risk for a bankruptcy filing. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows a person to discharge debts including credit cards, medical bills and judgments. With rising costs in health care and stagnant economy, bankruptcy is an excellent option for people who are struggling financially because of medical bills.
Contact our Washington DC and Maryland bankruptcy lawyer to learn more about whether you should file bankruptcy.
Judd’s Judgment: The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will extend health insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans.