Tuesday, March 08, 2005

follow-up to bankruptcy law

This is a follow-up to an earlier article on the bankruptcy bill the Senate is currently considering.

Mika asked:

I am just wondering whether these people (those who declared personal bankruptcy due to high medical costs) tried to get Medicare or Medicaid or both? I would think people are likely eligible for Medicaid if they become so poor -- mortgaging the house to pay medical bills, having no income and having exhausted their asset. Medicaid covers hospitalization costs and home health care and so on (http://www.cms.hhs.gov/medicaid/mservice.asp). I have not looked at the research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, but do you recall that the researchers mention the roles of Medicaid or Medicare for helping these people pay for their medical expense even temporally?

According to the study, 6% of the medical bankruptcy debtors had Medicare, 8% had Medicaid, and 2% were veterans or had military coverage. The study doesn't address whether a larger percentage where elegible for those programs. However, it's worth noting that bankruptcy is not the same as low income: you can be bringing in a large amount of money but having to use a lot of it to maintain your debt load, so that you have only a small amount left over to keep yourself afloat. It would be interesting to know how that situation fits with Medicaid or Medicare qualifications.

Also, Charles at Off The Kuff pointed out that there is a special thread of the Talking Points blog that's tracking the bankruptcy bill.

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