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The Struggle to Pay Medical Bills

1 in 5 US families say they struggle to pay medical bills; half say they can’t pay a cent according to an article in the Washington Post, on-line, 3/6/2012.

The article notes that it is the first time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has looked at the issue in such a comprehensive way.

The full report, Financial Burden of Medical Care: Early Release Estimates From the National Health Interview Survey, January-June 2011, is easy to read and clearly highlights the results of the survey.

The first of several charts illustrates that a third of those surveyed were in a family experiencing financial burden of medical care.  The next chart demonstrates that the financial burden of medical care decreased with age and the notes highlight the medical financial burden on children including:

  • In the first 6 months of 2011, children aged 0-17 years were three times more likely as adults aged 75 and over to be in families having problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months.
  • Children aged 0 – 17 were more than five times as likely as adults aged 75 and over to be in families that currently had medical bills they were unable to pay at all.

The balance of the report describes the financial burdens by poverty status.