The Cause of Most Bankruptcies: Medical Debt

ABC News Beyond the Headline
Beyond The Headline

It seems that in any family, medical bills always pile up. And according to a study from “The American Journal of Medicine,” nearly two out of three bankruptcies stem from some sort of medical debt.

In Denver, Colorado, James and Sarah Haugh were facing this all-too-common problem. The couple had racked up a high medical bill of $50,000 from their son’s birth two years ago.

The Haugh family wanted to challenge the charge but they didn’t know where to turn. “We were blindsided with how to approach contesting a certain charge. We didn’t know who to talk to,” James said.

Katie Vahle is the co-founder of CoPatient, a medical billing advocate service. Vahle said that you can help prevent some of these high costs.

For starters, she says to keep an eye out for errors. “We’re seeing errors in 80 to 85 percent of the bills we review,” she said.

Vahle said you should also feel empowered to be your own advocate. Ask your hospital, “Hey is this really your best offer?”

And if you get frustrated, “Be tenacious. Don’t let them wear you down,she said. These tips could save you money in the long run.