When it comes to household spending in Arkansas and across the country, medical bills may top the chart. CNBC reports that health costs prevent 10 million Americans from paying for the basics like rent and food. Additionally, 15 million people are required to pay their medical bills by emptying their savings accounts. With costs so high, it is not surprising to find that in 2013, almost 1.7 million people lived in households that had declared medical-related bankruptcy.
While the Obamacare program was an attempt to relieve the financial suffering of many, bankruptcies due to medical bills still made up 60 percent of all bankruptcy filings. The lower monthly costs of high-deductible insurance plans may reduce premium payments each month, but have proven to lead to much higher medical bills.
NPR reports that part of the problem may be that employees are being forced to cover a larger portion of their own health care. As premium prices rise, so does the portion of the plan that employers are unwilling to cover. The percentage increase is growing at a much higher ratio than the wages of these employees.
In addition, studies have found that 44 percent of adults have had to set up payment plans over the past two years to cover bills. Another 41 percent decided to take out loans or use credit cards to pay medical costs and have found that they are proving difficult to pay off. This financial crisis has led to 7 percent of adults polled reporting that they had declared bankruptcy due to health costs.