Millions Are Struggling to Afford Health Care and Falling into Medical Debt
According to the survey, people are increasingly skipping needed health care because they can't afford it. In 2012, 80 million people reported that, during the past year, they did not go to the doctor when they were sick or did not fill a prescription due to cost. Reports of skipping needed care rose substantially from 2003, when 63 million people did not get care because of cost.
Medical debt also continues to burden U.S. households. According to the report, in 2012, 41 percent of working-age adults, or 75 million people, had problems paying their medical bills or were paying off medical bills over time, up from 58 million in 2005. Nearly one of five (18%) adults were contacted by a collections agency over unpaid bills, and 16 percent had to change their way of life because of medical bills. The report finds that medical debt has substantial consequences: 42 percent of survey respondents who reported having trouble with medical bills, or an estimated 32 million people, had a lower credit rating because of unpaid bills and 6 percent, or an estimated 4 million, had to declare bankruptcy because of their bills.
Impact of the Affordable Care Act
The health reform law has already helped millions of young adults gain insurance coverage and protected people from insurance company practices like cancelling policies retroactively when a subscriber becomes sick, or putting a limit on how much they will pay out in a given year or lifetime. But the bulk of the law's effects will not be felt until 2014, when the health insurance reforms are fully implemented and the new state insurance marketplaces are up and running. Using the survey findings to determine how the Affordable Care Act will impact Americans currently uninsured or underinsured, the repor
|Contact: Mary Mahon|