CDC Survey: Many U.S. Families Struggling To Pay Their Medical Bills
One in five U.S. residents are in families who had trouble paying medical bills during the first half of 2011, according to a survey by CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Reinberg, HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/7).
Between January 2011 and June 2011, CDC surveyed about 52,000 U.S. residents as part of its long-running, in-person health survey. The questions on medical debt were included for the first time, which means there are no previous data with which to compare the results (AP/Omaha World-Herald, 3/7).
According to the survey, one in 10 U.S. families had medical bills they could not pay and 25% of families had at least one family member paying off a medical bill over time (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 3/7). The survey also found that:
- 45.8% of respondents whose incomes were just above the poverty line had trouble paying medical bills, compared with 41.3% with incomes below the federal poverty level (Rovner, "Shots," NPR, 3/7);
- 36% of uninsured respondents said they struggled to pay medical bills, compared with about 28% of those with public insurance and about 16% of those with private insurance (Modern Healthcare, 3/7);
- 24% of respondents under age 18 belonged to families who had trouble paying medical bills, compared with 21% of those between ages 18 and 64 (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/7);
- 6% of nonelderly residents with private insurance had medical bills that they were unable to pay, compared with 20% of uninsured residents and 18% of those with public insurance (Modern Healthcare, 3/7);
- 19% of residents between ages 65 and 74 and 12% of residents over age 75 said they faced some financial burden for medical care ("Shots," NPR, 3/7); and
- 10% of blacks and 7% of Hispanics had medical bills they could not pay, compared with fewer than 3% of whites (HealthDay/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/7).