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Most Americans don't have money to pay medical debts

According to a survey from Freedom Debt Relief, Maryland residents and other Americans may lack the ability to pay their medical bills. The survey found that only 45% of patients in the United States paid for medical expenses in cash in 2019. Of those who didn't use cash to pay down those balances, 42% put them on credit cards while another 19% borrowed money from family members or friends.

Credit card debt is common among Americans with a high net worth

Maryland residents may be surprised to learn that credit card debt is more common among individuals with a net wort of at least $100,000 than it is amongst those with a negative net worth. After surveying 2,547 American adults, the financial services company Bankrate discovered that 57% of the respondents with assets worth between $100,000 and $200,000 carried balances on their credit cards. Only 40% of the respondents with a negative net worth said that they had credit card debt.

How to pay medical bills without credit cards

While household income has gone up for most in Maryland and throughout the United States, medical costs have gone up even faster. Therefore, many who seek treatment feel as if their only option is to put their medical expenses on a credit card. However, there are strategies that people may be able to use to avoid having to do so. For instance, it's possible to purchase an insurance policy or apply for Medicare.

Older Americans more likely to file for bankruptcy

An increasing number of people in Maryland and across the country are filing for bankruptcy after the age of 55. Since 1991, the numbers have increased dramatically as have bankruptcy filings for those 65 and older. Bankruptcy can provide an important path for debt relief when people are struggling under the weight of unrepayable debt, collector calls and a declining credit score. It can allow people to escape the burden of discharged debt although there can be serious repercussions for people's access to credit.

Creditors have limits on collection activities

Being in debt often means receiving calls from creditors who want to collect the money owed to them. For those who don't have the money to pay their bills, this can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are laws that protect the people of Maryland from harassment by debt collectors. It's important for consumers to understand these laws so they can assert their rights.

Bankruptcy rate increasing drastically among seniors

The number of seniors who are filing bankruptcy in Maryland and across the country has been rising starkly in recent years. In most of the cases, the seniors filing for bankruptcy protection made less money than the population at large. Among senior households that filed for bankruptcy during the year 2016, 78% had less than the median annual income. In that year, bankruptcy filings by people 65 years old or older accounted for 12% of the total filings; that figure in 1991 was only 2%.

Student loan debt and bankruptcy

Student loan debt may be a major factor in some Maryland bankruptcy filings even though those obligations generally cannot be discharged. A study by the company LendEDU found that almost one-third of people who filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy had outstanding student loans. Almost half of the total debt of that group on average was student loans. This means that even after these consumers file for bankruptcy, they still must pay off a substantial part of their debt load.

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