Medical Bankruptcy Is Serious Concern For Latinos


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During 2013, approximately 190,000 Latinos in the United States will be affected by medical bankruptcy, a form of debilitating debt from the inability to pay medical costs. In fact, according to a report from CNBC, medical bills will be the number one cause of bankruptcy in the country, affecting a projected 2 million people for the 2013 year. reports that the findings are a part of a research project that analyzed data from the U.S. Census, Centers for Disease Control, the federal court system, and the Commonwealth Fund. Latinos are one of the hardest-hit groups when it comes to medical bills. More than half of the population is currently uninsured. This means Latinos typically put off medical care until disease processes are advanced, and when they do seek treatment it is usually in an emergency room setting, where costs are usually higher.
Other projections from the data indicate that for 2013:
•Latinos are 14 percent more likely than the average American and 24 percent more likely than Caucasian Americans to struggle to pay medical bills.
•Nearly 28 million Latinos will be uninsured at some point during the year (51 percent of Latino population).
•If Latinos were to become as insured as the average American, then nearly 2 million additional screening tests would be performed. Collectively, Latinas ages 21-64 would receive almost 820,000 more pap smears each year; 1 million additional Latinas ages 40-64 would have mammograms; and over 158,000 more Latino men ages 50-64 would undergo colon screenings.
•4 million Latino adults ages 18-64 will not take medicine as prescribed as a way to save money, instead using cost savings strategies like skipping doses, taking less medicine, or delaying filling a prescription.
•Latinos represent 16.3 percent of the population but only 8.68 percent of people declaring bankruptcy in 2010. However, that number increases by roughly 50 percent from a rate of 6.5 percent in 2006, suggesting Latinos were particularly hard hit by the economic crisis. The Affordable Care Act, however experts say, may be most beneficial to the Latino population. Because Latinos have lower rates of health insurance than other groups, the health law will enable many to get insured, one of the primary issues behind medical bankruptcy.
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