Survey: 1 in 5 full-year insured adults in Mass. have trouble paying family medical bills

Healthcare affordability continues to be a problem for Massachusetts families, despite passage of the state's 2006 healthcare reform law, according to a survey released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation.

The Massachusetts Health Reform Survey, conducted in the fall of 2015 by the Urban Institute, found nearly one in five full-year insured adults reported problems paying family medical bills in the past year, and more than one in five reported having medical debt.

Here are four other findings from the survey.

1. More than 43 percent of insured adults said healthcare costs had caused problems for them and their families over the last year. This includes 35.4 percent who encountered problems due to their healthcare spending, and 19.3 percent who went without needed care because of healthcare costs.

2. More than a quarter (27.9 percent) of respondents at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level did not get needed healthcare at some point in the last year because of difficulty paying for it.

3. The survey found one in five insured adults and their families had tried to address healthcare spending by cutting back on healthcare spending (11.4 percent), cutting back on other spending (17.1 percent), reducing savings or taking funds from savings (15.2 percent), increasing time spent working (9.8 percent), and/or taking on debt, including credit card debt (8.8 percent).

4. More than 50 percent of insured adults in Massachusetts were somewhat or very worried about being able to pay their medical bills in the future.


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