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High deductible health insurance and medical debt

More Virginia residents might be using a high deductible health insurance plan than they were five years ago based on a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. The study defined "high deductible" as a plan with an average deductible of $1,300 for a single person or $2,600 for family coverage. Between 2011 and 2016, the number of people aged 18 to 64 who were on such a plan rose from 26.3 percent to 39.3 percent.

While a high deductible health plan can save money on premiums, it may become a problem for families who are unable to afford the deductible if a medical crisis occurs. The journal "Nonprofit Quarterly" reported that for almost two-thirds of families, a $500 emergency meant either reducing spending or borrowing money. The cost of an illness or injury may snowball if people have to take unpaid time off work to recover, and they might even lose their job.

Emergencies are not the only issue. People who have chronic or ongoing health problems may need to come up with the annual deductible amount every year. People with high deductible plans are 50 percent more likely to struggle to pay medical bills compared to people with traditional plans.

Struggling to regain one's health while also struggling to keep up with debt can be exhausting. One of the main causes of bankruptcy is medical debt, and people who are unable to pay their medical bills might want to look into this as an option. Filing for bankruptcy puts a stop to any legal action against a debtor and can provide a fresh start.

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