Consumers Face Mounting Medical Debt [AUDIO]
Medical debt is swamping millions of Americans and was the biggest cause of bankruptcies last year, according to a new report.
The report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows it's easy to accumulate $10,000 to $30,000 in medical debt. The bureau's report shows hospital overcharging and price inflation are also factors.
This mounting debt is ruining the credit reports of some consumers, and unfortunately they may not be aware that they are in debt for health care. The CFPB reports also shows Americans between the ages of 25 and 64 account for 90 percent of all medical bankruptcies.
Bruce McClary of ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions said consumers can fight back by establishing a health savings account for out-of-pocket charges and staying in network for treatment.
"Keep the lines of communication open with the collection agency or with the medical biller to make sure that you can try to work out some kind of a way to pay these off," McClary said.
Many people may not even be aware that they are in debt because of some questionable billing practices by hospitals and health care providers. And because of the nature of the charges, many patients are not even aware of the charges until after their treatment.