It’s dangerously easy to gain severe levels of health care-related debt, thanks to the high cost of medical treatment in America. And for people with diabetes, the risk is very real.
A recent report found that many people living in the so-called “diabetes belt” face extremely high medical debt levels. So many, that every one in five residents of the belt was deep in medical debt.
The diabetes belt refers to counties within 15 states – including Georgia – with high diabetes rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have noted that doctors have diagnosed 11.7% of residents in those areas with diabetes.
How bad is the medical debt situation of people with diabetes?
Why is diabetes so expensive?
According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes typically have an average medical expense of $16,752 annually. Of that total, individuals spend about $9,601 on diabetes-related costs.
The medical costs that make the most of a diabetic’s expenses include:
- Prescription medicine (comprising 30% of an individual’s total medical cost)
- Hospital inpatient care (30%)
- Anti-diabetic agents and supplies (15%)
- Visits to a physician (13%)
Estimations also suggest that individuals with diabetes have medical expenses that are 2.3 times more than those without.
How bankruptcy can help
Medical bills are usually considered nonpriority unsecured debts. This means a bankruptcy court will likely discharge the debt when someone declares bankruptcy. Filing for either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy can put medical debt up for discharge.
While medical debt can potentially be discharged when a debtor files for bankruptcy, creditors can also object to the discharge. This can lead to a trial, and the debtor must contest the creditor’s objection. In this situation, debtors might want an attorney. A legal professional can represent debtors in court, fight for their right to have a debt discharged and protect their interests.