72% of Americans say medical debt has kept them from achieving life's milestones, study finds

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Nearly three-fourths of Americans say medical debt has prevented them from achieving milestones such as having children or buying a home, according to a study released March 15 by online loan company LendingTree.

LendingTree conducted an online survey of 1,550 Americans ages 18 to 75 from Feb. 19- 22. Below are four of its notable findings about Americans' medical debt:

  1. Forty-eight percent of millennial respondents said they have medical debt. Forty-two percent of Gen X respondents, 29 percent of Gen Z respondents and 23 percent of baby boomer respondents said the same.

  2. Seventy-two percent of respondents with medical debt said it is preventing them from achieving key milestones. Thirty-four percent of respondents with medical debt said it is keeping them from saving for retirement, 25 percent said it is keeping them from paying off other debts, 19 percent said it is keeping them from buying a home and 10 percent said it is keeping them from having children.

  3. Fifty-four percent of parents with young children are in debt because of medical bills.

  4. The top three causes of debt among respondents who reported having medical debt were emergency room visits (39 percent), visits with physicians or specialists (28 percent) and childbirth (22 percent).
 

 

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