How Suicide Fuels Medical Debt

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    • #365268
      • Total Posts: 9,653

      Interviews with mental health experts and suicide attempt survivors reveal that many Americans who experience suicide attempts are sent medical bills for their subsequent care, which can include payment demands for ambulance rides, emergency room visits, long hospital stays, and other life-saving procedures. The medical bills that survivors get after their attempt — the last thing they’re often thinking about as they work toward recovery — can feel unexpected and even unjustified based on the quality of care received. Americans facing debt for suicide attempt-related medical care often deal with the bills on their own and in secret, adding another layer of stress in the aftermath of recovery. Some say the mounting medical debt has made them consider suicide again.

      While it’s difficult to calculate the exact number of Americans who are sent medical bills after nonfatal suicide attempts, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 1.9 million adults went to emergency rooms for self-harm injuries between 2013 and 2017. The federal agency also found that death by suicide and suicide attempts cost almost $70 billion per year in lifetime medical and work-loss costs.

      “Suicide attempt data is difficult to collect as most people who attempt never seek treatment,” says Deborah Stone, a behavioral scientist with the CDC’s Division of Injury Prevention. It’s also hard to parse because data on nonfatal suicide attempts are collected in multiple places like hospital billing systems and self-report surveys.

      McCormick knew she was fortunate that she had health insurance, especially as the bills kept coming. Her hospital stay wound up being a little more than $500. Looking at the bill she found that without insurance, it would’ve been $8,000. But she was also getting bills for each of her one-on-one sessions with the doctors she saw at the hospital at about $50 each, even though seeing the doctor every day was mandatory. What’s more, she still needed to pay for therapy sessions and time with her psychiatrist. Her psychiatrist appointments alone are about $300 every few months. As she struggled to pay off the bills one went into collection, and McCormick saw her credit score drop nearly 15 points.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

    • #365336
      • Total Posts: 2,892

      Any study on how medical debt fuels suicide?

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