The medical bills associated with many health issues can be astronomical. If you are receiving treatment for multiple health problems or a serious illness, are recovering from major surgery or require ongoing physical therapy due to a disability, you know how the bills can pile up.

The good news is that relief is actually closer than you think. There are options for getting out of debt. You only need the help of a professional who is knowledgeable about solutions, including bankruptcy, to point you in the right direction.

Misery loves company

Medical debt does not just affect those without health insurance. On the contrary, a 2013 study conducted by Nerdwallet Health estimated that almost 10 million Americans with health insurance coverage were dealing with medical bills they could not pay off. A major part of the problem stems from insurance plans that have high deductibles, which results in greater out-of-pocket expense for policyholders. Satisfying an annual deductible of $5,000 or even $10,000 is too much for the average family to handle.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Some patients use their savings to pay off their medical bills or to at least make a dent in them. However, the savings may run out before the bills are fully paid. Many people also use their credit cards, a decision which causes them to go deeper into debt. The cards eventually max out and the monthly payments increase accordingly. At this point, an individual who is struggling with heavy debt may begin to consider bankruptcy.

The wolf at the door

In the 2013 Nerdwallet survey, the age group that filed medical bankruptcy most often was people 35 to 44 years of age. Those 45 to 54 comprised the next highest group of filers.

Many people see bankruptcy as the preferred option when life comes down to a decision between paying medical bills or buying food for the family and keeping the lights on. This is the time to learn about the options you have for medical debt relief, a time to keep the wolf away from the door.