There are many unfair aspects of our health care insurance coverage for consumers in Arkansas and throughout the nation. The most devastating aspect of the weaknesses of the system is seen with those people who are fighting a possibly fatal disease such as cancer. Instead of the health care network nationwide being set up to take care of those individuals, it is more harsh on them by loading them up, in many cases, with huge medical debt that cannot be re-paid.
Many Arkansas residents have faced unexpected financial stress due to medical emergencies or long-term treatments of disease. Mounting medical debt overwhelm those who already struggle to make ends meet. In many circumstances, various options allow hardworking people to wipe their slates clean through debt relief.
The medical care system in most states, including in Arkansas, remains unaffordable and a financial burden of major proportions to many consumers. The most surprising aspect of the problem is that even people with seemingly adequate health insurance are finding it necessary to file bankruptcy to survive medical debt. Clearly, medical debt has become a leading source of consumer bankruptcy filings nationwide.
In Arkansas and throughout the country, hospitals are engaging in a scorched-earth policy of billing patients enormous amounts for tests and medical procedures. When the bills are submitted for payment to the health insurance carrier, the insurers are consistently rejecting a large number of them. The reasons for this burgeoning unpaid medical debt may be partially due to the large deductibles contained in many policies. In other instances, insurers are denying coverage by challenging the wording of coverage clauses and through other procedural technicalities that are generally unfair to defenseless policyholders.
As reported in this blog, the U.S. Department of Education has issued new guidelines to lenders regarding when a discharge of student loans should not be contested in a debtor's bankruptcy. The new rules open up some avenues that did not exist in recent years, both nationwide and here in Arkansas. Additionally, bankruptcy judges are granting more undue hardship discharges in cases that may not have been considered undue hardship until recently.
Some Arkansas consumers may not be aware of the basic consumer protections to which they are entitled. After an extensive study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal crackdown was launched that revealed several dubious procedures by medical debt collectors. A settlement was subsequently reached with Syndicated Office Systems, one of the biggest debt collection agencies in the country. As a result of its illegal practices, the company will now pay 23,000 consumers a total amount of $5.4 million.
Even with medical insurance, many Americans nevertheless still struggle with medical bills. Medical debt sours the credit record and lowers the score, both in Arkansas and nationwide. Most people live on a very tight budget that cannot handle a substantial extra bill that was not budgeted.
One of the great contributors to a person falling into serious debt is the cost associated with medical care. It is very expensive nowadays to receive medical care, even if you have insurance. To that point, 78 percent of people who file for bankruptcy as a result of medical debt also have health insurance. Just because you are insured doesn't mean your medical care won't cost a hefty sum.
Lets say that, for years and years, you are perfectly healthy. You work hard and play hard, but you also make sure that your health doesn't suffer as a result. One day, you get a sudden pain in your stomach that pops up every once and awhile. Then it starts becoming more frequent, followed by the pain increasing to the point where you know you can't put off a doctor's visit much longer.