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Cancer patients more likely to need bankruptcy protection

In Massachusetts, there is sometimes the perception that people who have filed for personal bankruptcy have done so because they have been living beyond their means. Pop culture sometimes portrays bankruptcy as a way to purchase expensive things without having to pay for them. However, the reality of the situation is very different than this image. Most people who are filing for bankruptcy are doing so after significant and unexpected life changes. They are honest and hard-working people who have fallen victim to the struggling economy or, in some cases, a serious illness or injury.

A recent study shows that significant medical expenses also play a large role in whether or not a person files for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protections. This study revealed that people with cancer were three times more likely to need to file for bankruptcy because of the huge expenses related to fighting this disease. If the cancer patient is young, his or her risk of filing for bankruptcy is five times higher than the average person.

Experts suggest that people should choose to carry the best possible health insurance available to them in order to lower their risk of needing to file bankruptcy following a serious illness. They also suggest that people consider paying for a supplemental insurance program that could provide them with income if they are unable to work due to cancer or other serious illness.

While insurance might be sufficient to help some people, it is very likely that those diagnosed with serious medical aliments will still have significant out-of-pocket expenses relating to the treatment of their medical conditions. When the burden just becomes too much, personal bankruptcy may be a good option for many people. Through bankruptcy, people can get freedom from the harassing debt collectors and a fresh financial start.

Source: WWLP 22 News, "More cancer patients filing for bankruptcy," Kara Dominick, May 29, 2013