Health insurance is often ineffective at protecting people in Kentucky from financial hardship when serious injuries or illnesses strike. A study that examined a random sample of 910 bankruptcies filed between 2013 and 2016 attributed 58.5 percent of filings to unpaid medical bills. Another 44.3 percent of bankruptcies blamed income loss due to sickness as the source of overwhelming debt. Often, both factors drove people to bankruptcy court.
When many people in Kentucky think about large medical bills, they may first consider older Americans. However, a growing number of millennials are beset with significant medical bills that they find difficult to repay. Serious illnesses and injuries can leave people facing large amounts of debt, especially if they are uninsured or carry high-deductible policies that they never expected to rely upon. If young people aren't able to pay back the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt that they have accumulated, they could face collection calls, judgments and a severely worsened credit score.
Kentucky residents approaching retirement age know that money can be tighter during one's senior years. Cutting costs in the monthly budget might become paramount to making ends meet. Considering medical costs can be the largest line item for seniors, focusing on health insurance is a form of smart financial planning.
Debtors in Kentucky may benefit from recent changes made to how medical debts will effect consumers' credit scores in the future. During August 2014, Fair Isaac Corp., better known as FICO, announced its plans to mitigate the impact medical debt has been having on its credit score algorithm. The changes are expected to raise credit scores by 25 points for those consumers whose ratings have been adversely impacted by outstanding medical expenses.
Consumers in Kentucky who have paid off overdue medical bills might still have experienced low credit scores despite resolving their debt. However, FICO has made a significant change to how the company calculates credit scores. The new method of scoring will limit the ability of outstanding medical bills and those that have already been settled to negatively influence a person's credit score. Although this might not stop creditor harassment for people who have not paid their bills, the move will increase the scores of many consumers.
Many people feel a sense of embarrassment with the prospect filing for bankruptcy protection. It is a public admission of your financial condition and that it has deteriorated to the point that it cannot be salvage by diligence. While you can easily get into trouble with credit cards and simply spend more than you can afford to repay, more often, bankruptcy is caused by conditions beyond the simple control of the debtor.