Nearly $5,000 of medical debt is crippling 1 in 10 adults
Rising health care prices are dragging many people into significant medical debt, even those with insurance.
One in every 10 adults under 65 years old have medical debt, according to a recent study. Those most burdened are people of middle and lower incomes. Certain populations are most affected with the highest incidence of medical debt among the uninsured (15%). But even those with insurance, especially people with high deductible health plans (12%), were likely to carry medical debt. The report also found that women (1 in 8) were more likely to carry medical debt than men (1 in 11).
The average medical debt per US household is about $4,600. That’s a bill four times more than what almost half (42%) of people have in their bank account ($1,000).
The study also showed how medical debt is a risk factor in worsening certain social determinants of health. Households with medical debt are more likely to be unable to pay rent or a mortgage putting them at risk of being evicted or foreclosing on their home. And these families are also at risk of not having enough money to pay for food or utilities like gas and electric bills.
One reason so many struggle to pay their medical bills, even when insured, is the high price of health care. If you incurred medical debt but paid it off, make sure your credit reports don’t include paid medical debt.