Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 11
Here is why, 2/3rds of American household bankruptcies are due to medical issues.

This is completely false as anyone would know who read the actual white papers and questionnaires as I have -- and they are sitting in front of me right now. It's literally #FakeNews.

Also, you have misquoted the data. The study said 49% of home foreclosures at the depths of the Great Recession was caused in part by a medical problem.

Only 37% of foreclosed respondents had as much as $2000 in medical bills out-of-pocket in the prior two years.

[A different survey of consumers filing BK showed only 26% having medical bills over $1k total in the prior two years not covered by insurance.]

Only 23% said 'unmanageable medical bills' were in PART or whole the cause of their foreclosure.

8% of those who self-reported a 'medical cause of foreclosure' said the reason was a drug, alcohol, or gambling addiction. Not really the story the media was pushing here, if you blew your money on crack or at the craps table, you can't honestly include this cohort with people who got cancer.

The original survey data asked respondents to list *all* of the bills that someone who was filed for foreclosure had outstanding, and professors/reporters seized on the inclusion of medical bills as part of that process as the *cause* of the bk process.

So, if someone was flipping houses and had 6 mortgages they couldn't pay when the music stopped and they filed BK, and part of their BK was a $50 CVS or co-pay they hadn't paid yet/were unable to as they were now broke, the medical bill was used as a cause of the bankruptcy.

36% of BK filers in the author's survey said increasing interest rates were the cause and a further 16% said their house 'was unaffordable from the beginning.'

This is how disinformation spreads.

As the white paper says, 'In many cases, homeowners were hit with a perfect storm of factors - a few thousand dollars in medical bills, a few weeks of missed work, rising interest rates and perhaps a divorce - all combined to push them over the edge into foreclosure.' [emphasis added]

Additionally, they surveyed only 4 states with high foreclosures at the depths of the Great Recession - CA, NJ, FL, IL and extrapolated to the whole country.

Studies in other states showed medical causes going down as a %, in Minnesota a survey of filers from 1991-2003 showed medical as a partial cause falling from 25 to 20% with money mismanagement and job loss increasing.

In 2007, Freddie Mac's survey showed job loss the biggest cause [as anyone with a brain would suspect] and illness as 'chief cause' ranking 2nd at 21% of filers.

Even among low-income, predominantly minority borrowers in Chicago, only 33% listed medical as a partial/main cause in 2005.

In St Louis, 42% who listed 'medical debt' as a partial cause of their housing problems had less than $1k of debt.

11% said a 'death in the family' was a 'medical cause of foreclosure.' Again, this is separate from 'medical bills.' I can only surmise this cohort is where parents were paying kids mortgage and died thus removing the income stream.

Only 8% said illness/injury preventing them from working was the cause.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.