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Medical debts hitting Gen X harder than other age groups

Medical debts plague every adult age group in California, but data collected by Comet showed that members of Generation X are currently carrying the highest balances. Generation X represents people in their late 30s to early 50s. Their financial burdens include supporting children, paying for mortgages and keeping up with high credit card bills. These existing financial pressures too often make the timely payment of medical bills impossible.

The average amount of medical debt attributed to this age group is slightly under $20,000. By comparison, younger people in the millennial generation owed an average of $11,622. Baby boomers owe the lowest amount on average at $2,408 per person.

The widespread financial strain imposed by medical expenses represents a leading reason that people file for bankruptcy. Medical insurance does not necessarily protect people from hardship during medical crises. One-fifth of people covered by insurance policies still struggle to pay medical bills. High deductibles and co-pays account for the financial burdens that drag even those with medical insurance into debt.

planners recommend that people strive to limit extreme expenses by studying their benefit plans so that they know what will be covered and can choose in-network physicians. People should also seek medical care for injuries and illnesses as soon as possible to prevent costly complications. The maintenance of an emergency savings fund could also cover unexpected bills.

When a person reaches a point when income cannot cover bills, then bankruptcy might provide a path forward. An attorney could analyze the person's financial situation and explain whether filing for bankruptcy would be the most appropriate form of debt relief.

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