A research study from the American Bankruptcy Institute indicates that people in Texas and across the country have double the likelihood of filing for bankruptcy if they have had a gap in health insurance coverage of at least two years. The study included information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for more than 12,000 people and found a strong link between consumer bankruptcy filings and health insurance coverage interruptions.
The statistical link was present even when researchers controlled for things like debt-to-income ratio and earnings overall. Health insurance coverage interruptions were often related to other factors that can cause bankruptcy, like divorce, health issues and lower annual incomes. It is common for people who have health insurance to get coverage via their jobs, so an interruption of employment might interrupt both income and health insurance coverage. Moreover, health problems can sometimes lead to instability in employment. Prior studies have shown that more than 66% of bankruptcy filings are linked to medical problems.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 50% of people in the U.S. say that they or a person in their family has postponed a visit to a doctor or a dentist in the previous 12 months because the cost was too high. Among adults in the United States, 34% say it’s somewhat or very difficult to afford covering their insurance deductibles. In 2018, Americans filed for bankruptcy more than 770,000 times.
In cases where people in Texas are struggling to make ends meet, an attorney might be able to help by suggesting options to reduce or eliminate debts. The two types of bankruptcy that are most commonly relied upon by individual filers are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An attorney who has experience practicing bankruptcy law might be able to help the client prepare for the bankruptcy process or draft and file the petition on the client’s behalf.