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Medical costs, not poor savings habits, most often lead to bankruptcy

THE GLOBE’S front-page story titled “Bankruptcies wane as US relearns how to save” (Aug. 18) suggests if we can get our spending under control bankruptcy rates will decline.

But the leading cause of personal bankruptcy is illness, not out-of-control spending. A 2009 Harvard study reported that 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies are caused by medical problems. One might assume those medical bankruptcies were caused by lack of health insurance. Not so, the study reports 78 percent of those whose illness caused a medical bankruptcy had health insurance when their illness began.

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