There has long been a sad link between bankruptcy and cancer. For example, a recent study showed people diagnosed with cancer in Washington state are nearly 3x more likely to file bankruptcy than people without cancer.
But what causes this increased risk of financial hardship for cancer patients, and what can be done about it?
First, there are a few reasons cancer patients face financial problems:
- Most obviously, cancer treatments are very expensive and checkups or further treatment can last for a long time.
- The patient may be out of work while undergoing treatment or face long-term disability and loss of income.
- The patient’s family might also need to lower their workload to care for the patient, which means even more lost income.
- If out of a job, some patients lose health insurance. It may become impossible to find affordable insurance on one’s own after a cancer diagnosis.
- Cancer treatments can require unexpected costs like travel, physical therapy, or more medical treatment for problems resulting from chemotherapy and radiation.
Those are just some of the reasons many cancer patients have a long road of debt ahead of them.
The systems in place right now don’t make it any easier for this vulnerable group. We could help cancer patients avoid bankruptcy by investing in research of alternative therapies, for example, which may offer better treatment for a lower price.
These alternatives are kept in the margin of most medical studies, and certainly don’t benefit the drug companies or medical industry economically; but they might provide more effective, financially reasonable options.
Changes to the insurance industry, employment benefits for people diagnosed with cancer, and provisions for family caregivers could also make a big difference.
Fortunately, if you do face skyrocketing medical bills after a cancer diagnosis, bankruptcy doesn’t have to be the terrible thing you might think it is.
At our office, we work hard to make sure bankruptcy isn’t a scary or shameful process. We know people who are thinking about bankruptcy after a medical problem don’t need more worries or frustrations.
Our clients say they leave our office feeling “hopeful,” “uplifted,” and “less stressed.” That’s what we’d like to offer you, too.
If you’re considering bankruptcy after cancer, and want to speak with an understanding attorney who will help you make a wise decision, contact us today. Our Memphis bankruptcy lawyers are here for you and ready to help you start a new, debt-free life.