Monster medical bill is Americans' top health worry, poll finds

Americans are more worried about being able to afford unexpected medical bills than about being able to afford other healthcare costs, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

The poll, conducted Aug. 23-28 among 1,201 U.S. adults, found that two-thirds of respondents are either "very worried" (38 percent) or "somewhat worried" (29 percent) about being able to afford unexpected medical bills for them or their family. That compares to the 53 percent of insured respondents who reported they are very or somewhat worried about being able to afford their health insurance deductible, and the more than 40 percent of respondents who reported they are very or somewhat worried about affording prescription drug costs. Forty-two percent of insured respondents said they are very or somewhat worried about affording their monthly health insurance premium.

Unexpected medical bills can occur when a patient receives care at an out-of-network hospital or from an out-of-network provider at an in-network facility.

The poll found 39 percent of insured respondents ages 18-64 said they received care from a physician, hospital or lab and learned their insurance didn't provide full coverage or provided less coverage than they anticipated in the last 12 months, according to Kaiser.

Of the 39 percent who received an unexpected medical bill, 10 percent said it was because the provider was not in their health plan's network.

Among those who received  an unexpected medical bill, half reported they owed less than $500 overall, while 13 percent reported they were expected to pay $2,000 or more.

Read the full poll findings here.

 

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