Medical debt is a problem face by about half of the US population. Healthcare is an unavoidable expense and those without health insurance or those who do not have the best health insurance will suffer the most.
According to an article published on Forbes.com, “…debt collectors hold $140 billion in medical debt, not including credit card balances and unpaid medical bills that haven’t hit consumers’ credit reports.” This shows how difficult it can be for most people to pay their medical bills- 12% of this population owe at least $10,000. Stanford economist Neale Mahoney explains that the average amount owed is about $2,400. He also said that these numbers do not include debts that were incurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, so the numbers are significantly higher.
While medical debt can affect anyone, it has more of an impact on those who are low-income. For many, the fear of falling into more debt can be a deterrent from getting the health care they so desperately need. On Census.gov it explains that “…medical debt means that households have less money to spend on other essential items, such as food and housing. People with medical debt, or at risk of accumulating medical debt, may also forgo needed medical care or treatment. Medical debt can also lead to bankruptcy.” Clearly the problem does not just end with the debt; there is a snowball effect and having debt can affect all aspects of life, especially for those who may already be living paycheck to paycheck.
There is no certainty of universal healthcare or medical debt forgiveness in the U.S. anytime soon. However, there are ways that JFLA can help alleviate the burden of medical debt. JFLA offers interest-free and fee-free loans for up to $15,000 to help cover current medical bills and/or past debt. The loan application process is straight-forward, and the payments are customized according to what works with your budget. To learn more about the program and to start the application process, please visit https://www.jfla.org/eligibility/.