(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Medical debt is often a case of "your money or your life."
A 2021 estimate from the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that Americans have $88 billion in medical debt on their credit reports. The CFPB determined that figure could be lower than the actual amount of money that Americans collectively owe.
A bankruptcy attorney said people amass medical debt due to a catastrophic illness or injury.
"A lot of folks are just one fall or one illness from incurring medical debt," said Amy Wilburn, bankruptcy attorney with Lincoln-Goldfinch Law in Austin, Texas on the WBBM Noon Business Hour.
She said one way to avoid an endless stream of large medical bills is to have the right health insurance plan.
"That your medical team that your currently have is included in the plan. You also want to make sure that the hospital you would most likely be taken to is also included in the plan," Wilburn said.
At the very least, she said you should be able to purchase a catastrophic coverage plan from the Affordable Care Act exchange.