Huge bills can be produced from only a few days of treatment in a hospital. However these funds dwarf the payments in cases that are required for those of us unfortunately afflicted with a life threatening disease such as cancer or other condition requiring expensive treatments for recovery. On average, medically bankrupt families had $17,943 in out-of-pocket expenses, including $26,971 for those who lacked insurance and $17,749 who had insurance at some point.
Dr Peter Cummings from the Centre for Studying Health System Change has stated “it’s often hard to tell in which cases medical bills add to the bleak financial picture without being directly responsible for the bankruptcies. A more concerning interpretation of the data also includes the fact that 78 percent of the cases of these bankruptcies had health insurance, but many of the individuals were bankrupted anyway due to gaps in their coverage like co-payments and deductibles and uncovered services.
Numerous Medical professionals who have operated in the industry have also began speaking out against the cruelty of systems which can often leave families homeless and jobless due to unforeseen circumstances. Lead author Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, in Cambridge, Mass says, “Unless you’re a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, you’re one illness away from financial ruin in this country.” . When prompted about the consequences of serious illness Woolhandler responded, “If an illness is long enough and expensive enough, private insurance offers very little protection against medical bankruptcy, and that’s the major finding in our study.”
It is clear that although many middle class citizens are against ‘Obama-care’ regardless that it would these individuals the de-privatisation of the health system would benefit, as Woolhandler stated it is actually at a disadvtange for the “Warren Buffett or Bill Gates” of the world.
Although bankruptcies is the worst case financial scenario for many families it can often add to trauma of having a life debilitating disease in a relative. Medical bills and medical costs are an issue that can very easily and in pretty short order overwhelm a lot families who are on otherwise solid financial ground, including those with private insurance.
Studies conducted by Cummingham also indicate that medical bills unduly stress 1 in 5 of all American families.
Perhaps it is a sign of the times in backdrop of economic turmoil of the GFC where the well being of the sick and unfortunate become an after thought in lives of the entitled few who hold the reigns in legislation which we most abide by, and the ill-fated suffer through.
Study by Woolhander; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19501347