February 2, 2023 — Featured News

An article appearing in MarketWatch on February 2, 2023 by Alessandra Malito points to medical debt is a deterrent to retirement security and quotes Berneta Haynes.

The reality of medical debt is multilayered, said Berneta Haynes, an attorney with the National Consumer Law Center. Those who have defaulted on their loans or unable to pay their credit cards have the constant stress of debt collectors contacting them, or they may see their wages garnished and a lien placed on their homes. Some individuals may be pushed into risky alternatives, such as using a payday loan.

“Medical debt is special in one particular way – it’s unpredictable. You can’t plan for it,” Haynes said. “It is not necessarily anyone’s fault. You can’t necessarily determine when you’re going to get sick or injured. It’s not like taking out a mortgage or an auto loan.” 

The true impact of the pandemic on medical debt is yet to be seen, Haynes said, but there is likely to be some sort of negative effect given expired benefits and COVID-specific legislations, as well as persisting chronic health conditions older Americans are more likely to have. 

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