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One in 5 consumer credit reports affected by medical debts

As many Michigan residents are aware, in today's world, it can be difficult to avoid debt. With credit cards that offer ease of use and medical bills that can be impossibly expensive, debt is a reality that many Michigan residents have to face. Once mired in debt, it might seem like escape is all but impossible. However, for those stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of debt, there are options.

Debt is so common, in fact, that recent reports show that 1 in 5 consumer credit reports are affected by medical debts. According to a recent study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, however, these debts usually total hundreds of dollars, not thousands. For low-income households, though, this is still a serious concern and many avoid getting the medical care they need because they fear falling further into debt.

One doctor claims that he has long heard of people avoiding medical care out of fear of debt. He claims that many would rather take their chances, even risking death, rather than being stuck with a medical bill that they cannot afford. Medical debt is relatively common, because 22 percent of consumers with collections on their credit reports is purely due to medical debt. Half of those people had no other indications of past delinquencies.

Unpaid medical bills can quickly throw someone into seemingly inescapable debt. Thankfully, there are debt relief options. For one, it is sometimes possible to file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy sometimes allows a person to eliminate debt by liquidating assets or giving up a portion of their pay check each month in order to pay back their debtors. Though not always an ideal option, it can be a necessary escape route for those suffering with medical debt.

Source: San Antonio Express News, "Medical debts mar nearly 1 in 5 credit reports," Peggy O'Hare, Feb. 23, 2015

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