ObamaCare and Bankruptcy


            During the next year, the Affordable Care Act will begin to be fully implemented. This massive piece of legislation will change healthcare in this Country dramatically in many ways. One of the biggest questions that remains unanswered is whether this change in healthcare law will reduce the instance of the “medical bankruptcy”.

            Medical bankruptcy is a broad term which is not limited to bankruptcies caused by an accumulation of medical bills which cannot be immediately paid. Many credit card bills and personal loans that are included in bankruptcy filings are really the result of attempts to pay medical bills prior to filing the bankruptcy. The end result is that it is estimated that three out of five, or 60%, of the bankruptcy filings each year are the result of medical issues.

            And the issues of health care costs causing bankruptcy is not limited to the uninsured. Nearly 10 million Americans with full time health insurance will accumulate medical bills that cannot be paid. (Source – Nerdwallet Health). Almost two million of that number will file for bankruptcy protection due to medical and other bills. Additionally, millions of Americans will take on credit card debt, skip prescriptions and be unable to afford basic necessities due to medical costs not covered by insurance.

            So what will happen when 2014 comes and everyone has health insurance (or is required to have health insurance)? Health care costs on the working class will certainly rise. The Plans offered will most likely offer less coverage or higher deductibles, as well. With the increased costs of health insurance, the high deductible plans that are currently available and a lack of wage increases, it seems that medical bankruptcy is here to stay.


            2014 should be a very interesting year with respect to medical costs and bankruptcy. Only time will tell if the increased insurance coverage promised by ObamaCare will result in fewer or more bankruptcy filings. Either way, be sure to seek legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you are experiencing any medical related financial issues. At Mickler & Mickler, we attend Court on a regular basis. We have the experience and knowledge to ensure that you receive the correct advice when confronted with difficult financial decisions related to filing bankruptcy. Contact us at 904.725.0822 or bkmickler@planlaw.com.