Families with sick children feel the pressure of medical debt

For parents of sick or injured children, the high cost of medical care can put a major strain on finances.

For parents of sick or injured children, the high cost of medical care can put a major strain on finances. While many employer and public healthcare plans provide for dependents, the compounding cost of advanced care continues to burden families with children whose medical attention becomes costly. 

In Utah, a new bill could help reduce the pressure on families to meet that rising cost. HB199 aims to "fill the holes" in existing insurance policies for parents and children beset with costly health challenges. 

"These are families that want to keep their children," said Emilee Wagner, an advocate whose child was born missing most of her brain. Wagner appeared before legislators to make her case for public support of families going through trying medical situations with children. "We want to take care of them. We want to be there for them. We want to pay for them. We're doing everything we can, but we can't do it all," she said. 

While legislative action could relieve those families of the crippling debt resultant from childhood health care, solutions haven't been implemented across the country. On this blog, we discussed the rising trend in crowdsourcing treatment costs on websites like GoFundMe.com, which allow families to tell their stories and solicit contributions from friends and strangers. Families with infirmed children can also seek support from nonprofits and other pro bono care providers that specialize in helping families in need afford medical treatment. 

Hospitals and care facilities are inundated with outstanding medical claims that often produce a backlog of cases to collect on. When health care administrators outsource receivables management, they enable caseworkers to focus on the most important debts and reduce congestion in accounts receivable.