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Should I be more worried about my credit card or medical debt?

If you have medical debt and are also carrying a credit card balance, you can rest assured that there are many people in North Carolina in exactly the same boat. In fact, the average American family has over $15,000 in credit card debt and some kind of medical debt appears on the credit report of 43 million Americans, according to NerdWallet. Since both are troublesome, deciding which one is worse for you to have depends on a few different factors.

There are protections in place under the law that absolve you of your credit card if you are unable to pay it after a certain amount of time. However, there is no such law when it comes to medical debt. In addition, medical debt is often incurred because of an emergency or unforeseen situation while using a credit card to purchase something is usually a choice that a consumer makes. Because medical debt is so unpredictable it often takes people off guard and can therefore feel like more of a burden.

While medical debt can show up on your credit report, it does not have as much of a negative impact as credit cards and other debts. Credit card debt appears to affect your score much more harshly. In addition, medical bills have the advantage of sometimes being negotiable.  Some providers may be willing to work with you to devise a payment plan or to fix any billing errors. There is usually much less wiggle room when it comes to credit cards.

Finally, the interest you must pay on your credit card balances is usually quite high. Medical debts generally do not come with such inflated interest rates and therefore will not cause you to incur extra costs over time.

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