Cancer And Bankruptcy?
A recent study funded by the National Cancer Institute has analyzed bankruptcy court records along with cancer registry data from almost 232,000 adult cancer cases in Washington over 14 years. While many bankruptcy filings come as a result of medical bills, according to the study, those who live longer have increased rates of bankruptcy.
The study found that bankruptcy rates quadrupled within five years of cancer diagnoses, and that cancer rates were nearly twice as high among cancer patients one year after diagnosis. Most cancer patients filed for bankruptcy within two and a half years after diagnosis. The longer patients live, the longer they are out of work, and the more bills they accrue.
As for type of cancer, those with lung, thyroid, and leukemia cancers were at higher risk to file. This may be a result of the fact that those cancers are generally earlier onset, while many other cancers are more common in later ages, when patients are more likely to be covered by Medicare. These older patients are less likely to file, and less likely to incur debt, because they are on Medicare.
This study again shows the causality between unexpected expenses and bankruptcy, which often push people over the edge with debt and obligations. For individuals with cancer, it might be a good idea to talk to a bankruptcy attorney early on, and figure out your options when costs get higher, so that you do not have to worry about them when there are other things to worry about.
Stephen M. Trezza