6 recent updates on medical debt

Becker's has reported on several study findings and legislative and legal actions being taken related to medical debt in the two months.

Six updates:

1. 12% of GoFundMe campaigns for medical costs met goals in 2020, study finds
GoFundMe campaigns for medical costs are rarely successful, with only 12 percent meeting their goals in 2020, a Feb. 3 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found.

2. States move to relieve patient medical debt
At least 10 states, including Connecticut, Maryland, New Mexico and Maine, have passed laws in the last year requiring hospitals to give low-income patients financial assistance, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 7.

3. Union raises concerns over medical debt of UPMC workers
Amid an ongoing union organizing campaign, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Pennsylvania is highlighting what it describes as a prevalent problem involving medical debt owed by hospital workers at Pittsburgh-based UPMC, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Jan. 31. 

4. New York lawsuit seeks to allow people to receive free legal advice over medical debt
New York City nonprofit Upsolve and a pastor filed a lawsuit Jan. 25 against the state attorney general's office in an effort to allow people to receive free legal advice over debt collections, including medical debt, according to court documents.

5. Workers in most states spend over 10% of wages on health coverage
In 37 states, 10 percent or more of workers' median income goes toward health insurance premiums and deductibles, a Jan. 12 analysis by the Commonwealth Fund found.

6. Maryland changes medical debt collection rules for hospitals
A law that took effect Jan. 1 changes medical debt collection rules for hospitals and providers in Maryland, according to NPR affiliate WAMU.

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