Medical debt and bankruptcy are big problems in Arkansas, affecting many people and families in the state. Even though getting sick or hurt unexpectedly is bound to happen,the money problems they bring don’t have to be impossible. Making sure you have insurance coverage again can be crucial in avoiding medical debt and the problems they cause in the long run.

Avoiding medical debt is essential because there are specific risks that can mess up your finances:

  • Financial Stress: Medical bills can get really high really fast, which can put a lot of pressure on the money you’ve saved, emergency funds and the money you need for everyday stuff. This can make people feel stressed and worried, negatively impacting relationships.
  • Bad Credit: If you don’t pay medical bills over $500, it can hurt your credit score, making it harder to get loans, buy a house or get certain jobs. A good credit score is essential in a state like Arkansas, where it is already hard to find good financial opportunities.
  • Losing Money or Property: In serious cases, the people you owe money to for medical bills can take money directly from your paycheck or put a lien on your property. This can make it hard to keep your home and pay for everyday things.
  • Bankruptcy: While bankruptcy can help you get rid of debt, it can also cause significant problems for a long time. It can mess up your credit score for up to ten years, making it challenging to find a place to live, get loans or find a job. Additionally, filing for bankruptcy costs money, which can be a big problem for Arkansans who are already struggling with medical bills.
  • Emotional Stress: Going through bankruptcy can negatively affect your emotions. It can make you feel ashamed, like you’ve failed, and unsure about what will happen next. 

Even though signing up for healthcare coverage might seem hard, it’s important to consider the long-term risks of not having insurance. By getting insurance, people in Arkansas protect their money and make sure they can get regular check-ups and screenings for themselves and their families.

For more info on affordable coverage options in Arkansas, visit

There are also some recent efforts in Arkansas to tackle medical debt on a bigger scale. A group of nonprofits and donors worked together to eliminate $35 million in medical debt for over 23,000 people in Arkansas. The elimination wasn’t just about paying off old medical debt but also about making rules that will stop families in Arkansas from having money problems in the future.

Some ideas being considered include:

  • Making sure the No Surprise Medical Act is followed to stop people from getting surprise bills.
  • Putting limits on how much money can be taken from paychecks for debts.
  • Stopping debt collectors from being too aggressive or mean.
  • Looking at court costs and fees to see if they can be made lower.
  • Stopping people’s driver’s licenses from being taken away because they missed a court date.

These ideas are meant to help families in Arkansas deal with and recover from medical debt more easily. Groups working to help with medical debt will keep fighting for rules that make life better for everyone in the state.