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Rising medical costs are hitting Americans hard, and pushing many toward a financial cliff. Many are one unexpected expense away from being unable to stay afloat, but there could be a way to call for a life preserver.

Six out of 10 people 65 or older file for bankruptcy because of unmanageable medical costs. That number has exploded in recent years, up 204% from 1991 to 2016. Declaring bankruptcy could bring these burdensome medical costs under control, a process that can forgive certain types of outstanding debts.

Unhealthy increases

The increasing number of people seeking help from bankruptcy likely goes hand-in-hand with an increase in the average out-of-pocket costs, which saw an 11% rise from 2016 to 2017 alone. About half of all those costs came in under $500 per visit, but 39% were between $500 and $1,000, and the rest cost patients more than $1,000.

Those costs for just one visit could cripple many in the U.S., as 35% of adults would no longer be able to keep pace with their bills if faced with a $400 surprise expense. This is where bankruptcy relief can come into play.

Prescribing a cure

Chapter 7 bankruptcy could offer you forgiveness from unsecured debt, which are amounts that don’t receive backing by property like a home or car. You could find sanctuary from a wide range of unsecured debts, from unpaid medical bills to costs covered by credit cards.

Understanding what you can discharge with Chapter 7 is an important first step when looking for answers. Bankruptcy could offer you a solution for dealing with the overwhelming amount you owe from health care.