When a medical emergency arises in North Carolina, most people’s thoughts are on getting the necessary care they need and not on how much it will cost. Unfortunately, once the crisis has been dealt with, many people do end up stuck with emergency room or hospital bills that they cannot afford to pay. Here is a look at who the people with the most medical debt are and where they live.
A new study has found that people in the South are disproportionately affected by unpaid medical bills, reports The Atlantic. Eight of the top 10 states with medical debt are in the South. North Carolina came in at number 11. Age also appears to be a factor. Surprisingly, it is actually young people between the ages of 25 and 34 who struggle the most with doctor bills.
Even those who have insurance are not immune to problems. While the overall number of people with medical debt went down as a result of the Affordable Care Act, thanks to things like high deductibles and balance billing, some people find themselves in debt, despite having coverage.
CBS News points out that those who are more knowledgeable about finances are less likely to incur medical debt. This may be because those who have a better understanding of money matters are more likely to have enough savings to cover an unexpected doctor bill. Having a formal financial education was not found to reduce a person’s risk of struggling with medical bills, perhaps because many people only seek out such classes after they have already run into trouble.