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Michigan residents foregoing medical care due to credit card debt

Medical care can be costly, and the prospect of sinking further into debt due to these costs leads some people to eschew medical care in favor of protecting their remaining assets. A University of Michigan study suggests that 64 percent of people who do not seek medical care despite being ill avoid the additional costs because of credit card debt they are already shouldering. According to the study, the likelihood that an unhealthy person will forego medical care increases with the volume of credit card debt they currently carry.

While this tactic is understandable from some perspectives, it represents a dangerous downward spiral that can end up costing the patient more in the long run. Avoiding medical care to save money has the adverse effect of slowing the road to wellness and sometimes stalling health altogether. This can lead to increased costs later on, as a condition can worsen without treatment.

Additionally, the mere act of carrying credit card debt can be detrimental to even a healthy person's well-being. As opposed to so-called "good debt" like a personal loan or mortgage, credit card debt carries a negative stigma and is often very difficult to discharge due to high interest rates. It has been acknowledged that the long-term health effects of carrying heavy debt have yet to be fully understood, considering debt is a critical part of the American economic system.

Michigan residents are no strangers to the perils of substantial debt, but dealing with outstanding financial obligations does not have to influence one's health. Credit card debt is one of the many forms of debt that can be restructured and sometimes forgiven altogether through a bankruptcy filing or other debt relief measures. Before a patient refuses treatment due to debt, it may benefit them to fully investigate all of their options.

Source: Fox Business, "Credit Card Debt Causes People to Forgo Medical Care," Martin Merzer, May 15, 2013

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