The cat is starting to get out of the bag. Americans are in debt like never before, but it’s not for the reasons you think.
Your next door neighbor might be $200,000 in debt and you would have no idea. People usually think about poor spending habits when they imagine someone that is debt. A new study revealed surprising facts about why people are in so much debt.
I always thought it was only bad people that got in debt. Then I had a minor heart attack a year ago. Suddenly I had hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Isn’t my medical insurance supposed to pay all this? – Tammy Schmidt , Berkeley, CA
A recent study found that of 59% of collection calls were for medical debts. In fact almost 50 million Americans have unpaid medical bills, with the average bill reaching $1700. Medical debt is the unspoken reason so many people are in debt.
Insurance Companies Hide Outrageous Prices
Hospitals and insurance companies are getting away with highway robbery. There are very few restrictions on how much a hospital can charge you for a procedure. What used to be a simple procedure can cost tens of thousands of dollars more. Legislation has been discussed to reduce these costs, but the medical company lobbyists fight tooth and nail.
Why aren’t hospitals required to have some sort of menu for their services? Most hospitals in the United States are run for-profit. For-profit hospitals should be required to list prices of services and medications before they are given to consumers!
Imagine going into McDonald’s and they removed all prices from their menu. You order a big mac and are charged $70. When you ask why you were charged so much, they say that you should have consulted your insurance company for cost comparisons before you went into the McDonald’s. You would be absolutely mad to accept this at a McDonald’s. Why do we put up with this at hospitals. The truth is that there are a lot of people making obscene amounts of money by not telling you how much everything costs
Paying Hard-Earned Money for Nothing
Consumers pay into health insurance year after year, and yet the services they receive seem to get smaller and smaller. Finance Adviser recently received a report of a young woman on Obamacare unable to get the medical help she needed. Her insurance company would not pay for her life-saving medications because they said the drugs were too expensive. She is currently experiencing severe pain and nausea due to her illness. How unfortunate that consumers cannot get the help they need, even when they pay insurance premiums each month.
Debt doesn’t seem too bad when you are told you might be dying. Most people only go to hospitals when they are too sick. People are not in a good place of mind to make financial decision when they are experiencing so much discomfort. So they take on $50,000 in medical debt. Collection calls can start after you are only a day late. Many people receive multiple bills for similar amounts. It can be really confusing knowing which bills to pay.
I had my first baby and was so confused when I received 12 different bills the week after I came home. It felt like I was being scammed by the hospital. Why can’t they just be truthful with how much I owe?” – Katie Gill, Albany, NY
Changing the State of Healthcare in America
If you are in debt, it is important to know that you have resources. It is very important to call your insurance company before you have a medical procedure, and then after to make sure that you have the correct bill. If you have credit card debt, you can often negotiate your debt down. Make sure you know how many fees you will get charged if you do not pay your monthly amount. Debt relief is available, although it remains to be seen how long this will last.
Finance Adviser is working on your behalf to change the healthcare system. We are lobbying on your behalf to make prices more available on healthcare services. We also believe that credit card companies should not be able to charge such high fees. These fees only keep people in debt longer. Together we can help end the financial struggles so many people face today.