7 stats, findings on medical debt

As patients take more financial responsibility for their care, many experience problems paying their medical bills. This has serious repercussions in their daily lives, including postponing care, and can lead to mounting medical debt.

Here are seven statistics and findings on medical debt.

1. Fifty-seven percent of Americans say they've received a surprise medical bill they thought would be covered by insurance, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

2. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that two-thirds of respondents were either "very worried" (38 percent) or "somewhat worried" (29 percent) about being able to afford unexpected medical bills for them or their family. 

3. A Federal Reserve survey of more than 5,000 people showed 46 percent of adults said they could not cover an emergency expense of $400, or would cover it by selling something or borrowing money.

4. Many families have delayed care due to affordability and are concerned about their ability to cover medical expenses, according to a survey commissioned by AccessOne. The survey, which involved 693 U.S. adults with at least $35,000 in annual household income, showed 27 percent of respondents with children said they delayed care in the last two years because they couldn't afford it.

5. Rob Solomon, CEO of GoFundMe, told MPR News fundraisers for medical bills and accompanying expenses represent one-third of campaigns on the crowdsourcing website.

6. Bankruptcy linked to medical debt remains common despite passage of the ACA, with two-thirds of debtor respondents citing it as contributing to their filing, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health found.  

7. Overall, the average size of medical debt is significantly higher for younger people compared to their older counterparts, likely reflecting differences in insurance coverage and financial resources, according to a study released by Health Affairs.


More articles on healthcare finance: 

House speaker urges Congress to ease Medicaid payment cuts to hospitals serving low-income patients
Vermont medical center to cut workforce through redesign, attrition
RCM tip of the day: Talk to patients about billing before service

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