The ache in Devin Barrington-Ward’s gut had him doubling over in pain. His chest ached as well. Despite his family’s insistence that he contact paramedics and his fear that his health issue was serious, Barrington-Ward was more concerned about the cost. He realized he could not pay for the ambulance travel since he was uninsured, so he had his mom rush him to a hospital close to his home in rural Atlanta. Doctors diagnosed Barrington-Ward with colitis after spending many hours in urgent care, where he visited multiple doctors and received a CT scan and other tests. The medical bill arrived not long after: it was nearly $10,000. Even though his condition has improved, he claims he is still in debt, with severe consequences in regard to his credit. For starters, it necessitates balancing objectives. He’s just starting to work with the Black Futurists Group, a humanitarian movement he formed. Barrington-Ward, 30, adds, “I’m in the vital years of my plan.” “I’d like to start a family and buy a house.” But now, he adds, he must strike a balance between paying off loans and investing in himself, his job, and his future.
Barrington-Ward isn’t the only one with this problem. According to a June 2020 Consumer Reports nationwide survey poll of 1,267 U.S. adults who’ve had to pay a hospital bill out of pocket, the agony of hospital bills is most acute in Hispanic and Black populations.
And it’s an issue that many people face, and it’s an issue unique to the United States. As per the Health Fund, a hospital research organization, people in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and many other nations who fall sick don’t confront the same danger of enormous costs in the future. All inhabitants in such countries have access to free and low-cost treatment.
However, the disease is more difficult to recover from in our nation, at least monetarily. According to the Department of Financial Services, more than a quarter of Consumers in the United States possess debt in collections, with health costs accounting for more than half of that liability.
As per a 2018 research paper published in the Ministry Of health, the total medical debt submitted to collection agencies was $81 billion. As per a 2019 report study published in The American of Public Health, hospital bills are also a leading cause of bankruptcy.
So, according to CR’s new poll, even tiny sums of hospital bills can set off a chain reaction of additional financial troubles. A 60-year-old Georgia father who had to tap into his children’s future college saving account and a 25-year-old Montana guy who had his earnings seized to pay medical costs that were less than $1,000 were among the replies.
As money and healthcare coverage issues intensify, the new regulation will force hospitals and medical systems to recover from their obligations. “This will continue to increase stress levels and behaviors such as postponing medical care,” the paper reports.
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