As our Chicago-area readers know, medical debt can be a real thorn in the side of a healthy financial picture. Everyone has bills to pay, such as mortgages and car payments, but medical debt can be especially overwhelming because of its unpredictability and ability to increase seemingly exponentially.

One major issue with medical debt is that it is not always reported accurately. In fact, according to the National Patient Advocate Foundation, medical bills have a disproportionately high error rate; thus, incorrect information is more frequently reported to credit reporting agencies, which can unfairly batter a person’s credit worthiness — making it more difficult to obtain loans and putting people in precarious financial situations.

It may be that people believe they will be taken care of if they health insurance. This may be true to a point, but in the long run, Americans are still paying huge amounts out of pocket for their medical care. While private insurance and government programs do take on some of the burden, consumers are still left having to cover a lot of the costs — around a trillion dollars in a given year, in fact.

Many people elect to file for bankruptcy when they are confronted with large amounts of medical debt. For some, this is by far the best option so that they can maintain their homes, cars and other essential parts of their lives. Experienced bankruptcy attorneys can advise people in the Chicago area who are considering taking this important, and sometimes essential, step.

Source: The Hill, “New healthcare gorilla in America: Patient medical debt,” Nancy Davenport-Ennis, Feb. 28, 2014