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Impact Of Affordable Care Act On Medical Bankruptcies

Charlotte Bankruptcy attorney Bryan W. Stone answers the question: “Can I buy a home after bankruptcy?”

 

The Affordable Care Act has been in the news for months and months now and is again the subject of scrutiny after President Obama chose to further delay implementation of a component of the legislation. Though the program is designed to increase insurance coverage for millions of Americans who currently lack insurance or are dangerously underinsured, there’s a debate about whether it will be enough lower the number of bankruptcy filings related to medical debt.

 

Medical Clipboard Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer North Carolina Debt AttorneyThe basic goal of the Affordable Care Act is to increase the number of people being covered by health insurance. The hope is that by doing so, the uninsured will more readily seek treatment when ill and that the crushing weight of medical debt can be lessened on millions of families.

 

Though expanding insurance coverage would appear to go a long way to driving down the levels of medical debt, the reality is that many people with medical debt already have insurance. In fact, some studies have found that of those filing for bankruptcy protection, nearly 60 percent had insurance coverage at the time the medical debt was created.

The reason is because even those with health insurance may be forced to pay large deductibles before coverage kicks in. Another problem is that many policies only cover 80 percent of the total expenses, leaving the individual on the hook for the remainder. For small procedures this might not amount to much, but for those suffering from long lasting or complicated medical problems this 20 percent can prove insurmountable.

 

Given this, it would appear that ObamaCare would do little to reduce the number of bankruptcy filings. However, a study of the impact of the Massachusetts healthcare insurance program indicated there might be some hope. The study found that after Massachusetts passed its plan, which is similar to ObamaCare, the percentage of those filing bankruptcy due to medical debt declined. In 2007, prior to the implementation of the health insurance program 59 percent of people said that medical debt was a factor in their bankruptcy filing, two years later that number had fallen to 52 percent.

 

On the other hand, those analyzing the results noted that the decline in bankruptcies might not have been due to the state health insurance program, but instead the result of other economic factors. The researchers noted that the overall rate of bankruptcies declined after the reform and that the drop in filings due to medical debt likely just mirrored this overall trend.

 

If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828. As professionals who are experienced in the bankruptcy arena, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.

 

About The Author: 

Bryan 1  Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord tenant issues.  Originally from Macon Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia for a BBA in Banking and Finance and went on to Wake Forest to earn his law degree.  After law school Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte where he has become quite involved in many local organizations.  He is currently the Chair of “Bravo!” the young professionals organization of Opera Carolina, he also founded the UGA Alumni Association of Charlotte.  In his spare time he enjoys perfecting his BBQ skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championships” and playing softball with the Mecklenburg County Bar Softball League.

 
Source:

“Study: Health Care Reform Likely to Reduce Bankruptcy and Catastrophic Debt,” by Kevin Drum, published at MotherJones.com.

 

 

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