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Medical Bills Cause Half of All U.S. Personal Bankruptcies, Researchers Say

Supplemental insurance products can protect Americans from financial ruin

Carmel, Ind. March 16, 2005 — Many consumers believe that their medical insurance is sufficient to cover current and future medical expenses, but half of personal bankruptcies filed in the United States today are caused by medical bills, according to a Harvard study released last month.

The study said that 50% of personal bankruptcies filed in the United States are attributed to unplanned medical costs. These “medical bankruptcies” include filings by middle-income American families, most of whom had health insurance at the time of injury or illness diagnosis. The study warns that most comprehensive medical insurance offered to Americans today is not inclusive enough to protect consumers from the additional costs of illness.

“Most consumers don’t focus on the expenses they could incur from an injury or illness,” said Brad Corbin, executive vice president of sales for the Conseco insurance companies. “While a person’s medical insurance will typically pay for a large percentage of medical bills, the patient could be burdened with out-of-pocket expenses like deductibles, copayments, travel expenses and childcare costs. Supplemental insurance products like those offered by the Conseco insurance companies can help by ‘filling the gaps’ left by major medical insurance policies.”

Supplemental insurance products from the Conseco insurance companies can pay benefits for hospital stays, transportation, and medical treatments when a policyholder is diagnosed with a specified illness or injury. Conseco specializes in cancer, heart/stroke and accident supplemental coverage, and intensive care coverage is available in most states.

A key element of Conseco’s supplemental health products is that they pay benefits directly to the policyholder, instead of paying a hospital, laboratory or physician’s office. This gives the policyholder the freedom to use the cash as needed to pay bills that are most urgent during or following their medical treatment. While the purpose of supplemental health insurance should not be considered bankruptcy relief, it can lessen the financial burden of major medical events.

The Conseco insurance companies serve nearly 5 million customers across America. Conseco’s supplemental health policies protect people against major unplanned expenses; Conseco’s annuities and life insurance products help people plan for their financial future. These products are distributed through independent licensed agents across the country.

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