10 biggest medical debt updates of the year

Nearly 10 percent of Americans hold medical debt. In 2022, the issue remained prevalent as politicians, hospital executives and patient advocacy groups worked to address the problem in a myriad of different ways.

The 10 biggest medical debt stories Becker's reported on in 2022:


  1. Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania surveyed hundreds of workers at Pittsburgh-based UPMC Presbyterian and UPMC Shadyside, revealing that nearly 60 percent of workers owed medical debt to the system.


  1. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson alleged that Renton, Wash.-based Providence's collection agencies broke the law by failing to notify patients of charity care options before collecting on the medical debt.


  1. Vituity, a medical staffing service, partnered with RIP Medical Debt to erase $25.4 million in medical debt for 48,000 patients across the Pacific Northwest.


  1. RIP Medical Debt ended its Oklahoma campaign after the group said that it could no longer access any additional debt.


  1. United Church of Christ in Cleveland partnered with RIP Medical Debt to erase $33 million in medical debt.


  1. Cook County, Ill., officials plan to partner with RIP Medical Debt to relieve more than $1 billion in medical debt, using COVID-19 relief funds. 


  1. Maryland changed hospital medical debt collection rules. The new law forbids hospitals from placing liens on homes, prohibits hospitals from collecting debt until 180 days after the bill is issued and prevents the garnishment of wages over unpaid medical debt.


  1. A judge ruled that Lexington, Ky.-based UK HealthCare improperly used the state's department of revenue and tax services to collect unpaid medical bills. 


  1. A new study indicated that 20 percent of Americans with medical debt do not think they will ever be able to pay it off.

  2. At least 10 states passed laws that require hospitals to give low-income patients financial assistance. 

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