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Medical debt continues to be a problem for many American families

When dealing with financial struggles in Tennessee, people are often forced to pick and choose what to spend their money on. Unfortunately, a new study found that for many, that means cutting down on medical care. According to the Atlantic, problems with paying for medical debt plagues over 25 percent of households.

For most people, the financial hits are caused by emergency medical bills and not chronic illnesses. However, if a person has little or no savings, he or she will not be able to afford a medical crisis should it occur. This means that some people may forego getting care or will put it off until they do have the money, such as upon receipt of a tax refund. But if that is not enough to cover the entire amount owed, some families are still left with outstanding debts.

This is further demonstrated by the fact that collection agencies contact consumers regarding medical bills more than any other type of debt. According to NPR, this problem plagues those of all ages and income levels. In fact, one study found that of the people who received communication from a debt collector, 59 percent said the reason was a medical bill.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the number of people struggling with medical debt decreased between 2013 and 2015, although those with high-deductible plans remained more at risk for being unable to pay their medical bills. As the new administration looks to change or eliminate the ACA, it remains to be seen how that will affect the ability of some people to afford medical care.

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