Sick, broke and screwed

Have a good job? Have insurance? If you get sick, it might not matter. According to a study conducted by Harvard University, half of all bankruptcies in America are due to medical costs associated with a sudden sickness or injury. The report called private health insurance “an umbrella that melts in the rain” and advocated for a national health care plan.

Calif. bankruptcies in 2004 123,905

Calif. medical bankruptcies 2004 62,386

# Californians in medical bankruptcy families 173,244

% Americans with insurance at onset of bankrupting illness 75.7

% Canadian bankruptcies due to medical bills 7.1

In the two years before filing for a medical bankruptcy:

22% of families went without food

30% had a utility shut off

61% went without needed medical care

50% could not afford to fill a doctor’s prescription

Harvard’s full study is available online at: