According to a recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report, four in ten Americans say they are more afraid of medical debt than of serious illness. Through the first-hand accounts from beneficiaries, we continue to see how medical debt adversely impacts emotional and financial health in several ways.
Beneficiaries describe feeling stress, anxiety, and shame due to the burden of, and economic precarity caused by, medical debt. A Federal Reserve report from 2017, pre-pandemic, shows that almost half of Americans couldn’t afford an unexpected expense of $400. This reveals how the price of medical debt is often insurmountable, regardless of its size. And yet, people will pivot the orientation of their lives in search of strategies to pay medical bills and avoid seeing their debt sent to collections.
The following are events that people unfairly impacted by medical debt continue to be vulnerable to despite the recent actions that three major credit agencies have taken.
“I received numerous letters in the mail saying that your charity, and the people involved paid almost [19, 000] dollars of medical debt for me. I’ve been trying to pay this for a few years now through plans and garnishment. I don’t know what I did to deserve such amazing help but if this is true, I will never forget it. My story is I was having numerous seizures due to a medicine I was prescribed, so I was constantly waking up in a hospital. I didn’t have insurance and usually didn’t go by choice. They never even found out why I had them, I discovered it through personal research because the medicine was the only thing that changed in my life to cause them. Thank you again, if my story and name help in any way feel free to use them. I have to say this is a big shock to me. It’s hard to believe it’s real that this debt is just gone. But it has stressed me for years. Every time I paid one, they just garnished me for a new debt. It was a never ending cycle.”