50% of Americans have medical debt: survey

Alia Paavola - Print  | 

Fifty percent of Americans report having medical debt this year, up from 46 percent last year, according to a survey from consumer financial education company debt.com

For the survey, debt.com received responses from 541 people on nine questions related to their medical debt from Sept. 7-28.

Four other key findings:

1. Although more Americans have medical debt, fewer reported that their medical bills are in collections. Forty-six percent of respondents said they have medical bills in collections in 2021, compared to 56 percent in 2020. 

2. More respondents were also able to better negotiate their bills in 2021. For example, 34 percent said they were successful at negotiating their medical debt in 2021, up from 27 percent in 2020. 

3. The largest percentage of respondents, 34 percent, said they owe between $1,000 and $4,999 in medical debt. This is followed by 23 percent of respondents that said they owe between $500 and $999.

4. In 2021, the most respondents, 24 percent, said they owe money from diagnostic tests, 19 percent said they owe money from a hospitalization. 

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