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New health insurance survey: 9 million adults joined ranks of uninsured due to job loss in 2010
Date:3/15/2011

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According to the survey, 73 million people reported problems paying their medical bills or were paying off medical debt, up from 58 million in 2005. An estimated 44 million people were paying off medical debt in 2010, up from 37 million in 2005.

Medical debt and medical bills are leading Americans to make significant trade-offs. The survey found that an estimated 29 million people have used up all of their savings to pay medical bills, 17 million have incurred credit card debt, 22 million were unable to pay for basic necessities like food, heat, and rent, and 4 million declared bankruptcy because of medical bills.

"The survey shows that over the last decade, increasing numbers of people across the income spectrum went without health insurance, avoided timely health care because it was too expensive, and struggled with medical debt," said lead study author and Commonwealth Fund Vice President Sara Collins. "Millions of working families reported making difficult trade-offs between paying off their medical debt, buying other life necessities, and saving for the future. The sweeping changes health reform will bring to the nation's health insurance system will ensure that families will have the financial means to get the health care that they need, both in good economic times and bad."

Additional Report Findings:

  • A quarter of adults with chronic conditions who took medications skipped their medications or didn't fill a prescription for their condition because of cost. Uninsured adults with chronic conditions were most likely to have medication problems related to cost52 percent reported problems compared to 18 percent of adults that were insured all year.
  • Of the estimated 26 million adults who bought, or tried to buy, health insurance on the individual insurance market in the past three years, 16 million found it very difficult or impossible to find a plan they could afford. An estimated 9 million were turned dow
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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