Researchers at Harvard University recently found that the number of bankruptcy filings made in the state of Massachusetts has actually increased since the passage of a 2006 law requiring residents to have health insurance, according to a report in the American Journal of Medicine. In all, 10,093 citizens sought bankruptcy protection due to medical bills in 2009, up from 7,504.
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This change came even as the medical share of all bankruptcy filings declined to 52.9 percent from 59.3 percent, the report said. However, the study’s authors say that due to the large increase in the overall number of filings, the 6.4 percent decline is relatively insignificant.
However, Massachusetts’ healthcare reform law, which went into full effect in 2008, also reduced the number of uninsured residents from 10.4 percent in 2006 to just 5.5 percent of the population, the lowest rate of any state.
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Medical debts are often difficult for consumers to deal with and typically come as a result of unemployment, during which time company-issued health coverage lapses.