Virtually everyone has had a high credit card balance at one point in their lives. Many California residents know the sickening feeling of carrying high levels of debt from month to month, and the stress and worry that comes along with a worsening debt problem. One recent study suggests that credit card debt can have an even more sobering effect on one’s health, and may inspire some to seek immediate debt relief.

The study found a correlation between carrying credit card or medical debt and failing to seek medical attention. Researchers found that people who have credit card debt were 1.89 times more likely to forego medical treatment than those who had no such debt. Even more disturbing was the finding that the more debt a person carried, the higher the odds that they would not seek medical care when it was needed.

Failing to seek necessary health care has repercussions that stretch beyond mere illness or discomfort. Putting off medical treatment often leads to an exacerbation of the underlying condition, which ironically costs more when treatment becomes unavoidable. In addition, the stress of financial troubles, when combined with medical issues, can become overwhelming, making an already negative situation worse.

For those in California who find themselves in the position of having to forego medical care because of concerns over high levels of debt, it is important to understand that there are debt relief options available. Personal bankruptcy can lead to the elimination of most forms of unsecured consumer debt, including medical bills and credit card debt. By reducing one’s monthly debt service, there is often enough room in one’s budget to seek the medical care that is required for a normal, healthy life.

Source: Fox Business, “Credit Card Debt Causes People to Forgo Medical Care,” Martin Merzer, May 21, 2013