Having health insurance can help defray the cost of care, but it is not a guarantee that a South Carolina resident won't experience financial hardship. One poll of residents of another southern state found that 76 percent of those who drew down their savings or racked up credit card debt in the prior two years had health insurance. According to a national poll, 26 percent of respondents said that a medical debt caused a serious financial problem.
Many patients who visit emergency rooms in South Carolina are surprised by the medical bills that they receive later on. Because health plan designs have changed, there is a lot of confusion that can lead to unexpected medical bills. Even if patients make sure to use a hospital or clinic that is within their health plan's network, they could get a bill for treatment from an out-of-network healthcare provider.
South Carolina consumers should know that a new ruling by the Federal Communications Commission makes it harder for medical debt collectors to contact debtors on their cellphones. However, the collection industry claims the rule change is unfair.
Many people struggle with medical debt in South Carolina as well as across the country. These types of obligations are currently hurting the credit of around 30 million people in the United States, including those who have health insurance.
The three major credit reporting bureaus came to an agreement to extend the amount of time it takes for unpaid medical bills to show upon on consumer credit reports. It is easy to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in hospital expenses during a single major illness. Even insured South Carolina patients may be overwhelmed by the amount of benefits explanations from their healthcare providers.
Many people in South Carolina have overdue medical bills that they cannot afford to make payments on. In fact, almost half of all collection accounts in the U.S. are for unpaid medical bills, and one out of every six credit reports includes a medical debt collection. In 2012, unpaid medical bills resulted in 40 percent of Americans watching their credit score go down. While the leading credit reporting agency has changed its method of scoring medical debt, the problem still remains a considerable one.
Though many South Carolina residents are aware that medical debt is a problem for many people, some may not know how much it affects even those who are insured. Sources suggest that as many as 70 percent of people with health insurance nevertheless struggle with medical debt, and the Consumer Financial Protection Board says that such bills are now accounting for half the collection reports on credit scores.
Both insured and uninsured patients in South Carolina may be taken aback by a joint media report whose recent publication raised to the surface of public consciousness a practice regularly used yet underemphasized by many of the country's nonprofit hospitals. Despite the fact that these institutions receive their definitive tax exemptions as an incentive to take on uninsured patients who lack the means to obtain treatment at standard hospitals, several nonprofit hospitals often endorse civil action, in the form of debt collection lawsuits, when these uninsured patients default on hospital bills related to treatment.
. The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in South Carolina and around the country is medical debt. While the government has tried to make health care more affordable, many households are struggling with this type of debt. According to a study by a consumer services company, Americans are paying three times more to third-party collectors for medical debt than bank and credit card bills combined. In addition, about one in five had a medical bill in debt collection in 2014. However, studies have found that consumers are consistently overcharged for medical bills.
What would you do if you were suddenly laid off from your job? What if the job search that followed took months to finally yield a new job? Or how about if you suffered a major medical emergency? How would you cope with the immense medical bills coupled with a sudden loss of income due to your inability (or reduced capacity) to work?