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Serious illnesses like cancer can lead to bankruptcy

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Bankruptcy |

Doctors have an easier time now than ever before of detecting cancer. Imaging tests, surgical biopsies and even genetic sequencing of cancerous tissue have increased the speed of diagnosis and the accuracy of results.

Patients who discovered that they have cancer also benefit from an ever-expanding roster of treatment options. Surgical removal of tumors is still possible, and now surgeons can even use gamma knives to remove previously inoperable tumors. There are more chemotherapy and radiation treatment options now than there were in decades past, and immunotherapy has become increasingly successful.

Unfortunately, one side of serious illnesses like cancer that is rarely discussed is the financial side. A cancer diagnosis can be financially damaging. A Seattle-based cancer research center reports that cancer patients are 2.5 times more likely to face bankruptcy than the average individual.

Insurance just doesn’t cover enough when it comes to cancer

Health insurance reforms have helped make cancer treatment more accessible by removing annual and lifetime coverage caps that would leave people without any protection whatsoever for expensive care.

However, many policies still have multiple thousand-dollar deductibles as well as co-pays and co-insurance that a patient must cover. Co-insurance might mean that someone pays a specific percentage of the treatment costs, which could be tens of thousands of dollars depending on the policy and the treatment recommendations. Beyond that, the most cutting-edge treatments may not be eligible for insurance coverage at all.

Patients who have recently achieved remission and finished a treatment regimen may find themselves dealing with aggressive collection efforts or even lawsuits from the facilities that helped treat them during their battle with cancer.

Bankruptcy lets you make the most of your remission

Achieving cancer-free status or remission, only to find yourself afraid to answer the phone or the door because of collection activity is a tragedy. Not only is it unfair for you to now have a massive financial burden on your shoulders while trying to heal, but the stress you experience could have a negative impact on your health and quality of life.

Rather than trying to struggle through payments, you may want to consider personal bankruptcy. Most medical debts are unsecured debts that you can discharge after a successful bankruptcy filing. Learning more about the ways bankruptcy protects you can help you decide if filing is the best way for you to become debt-free now that you are finally cancer-free again.