Number of U.S. Residents Facing Difficulty Paying Medical Bills Falls
The number of U.S. residents who had difficulty paying medical bills decreased by 12 million from the first half of 2011 through the first half of 2015, according to CDC data released Tuesday, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports.
The data are based on responses to CDC's National Health Interview Survey from individuals under age 65.
The survey found that 56 million people under age 65 had difficulty paying medical bills in 2011, representing about 20% of the U.S. population who were not yet old enough to qualify for Medicare. That number dropped to 44.5 million people during the first six months of 2015, representing about 16.5% of the population who have not yet reached the Medicare eligibility age.
The data noted that the largest declines were among low-income individuals. According to the study:
- 24.5% of low-income individuals had trouble paying medical bills during the first half of this year, down from 32.1% in 2011; and
- 12% of middle-income individuals had trouble paying medical bills during the first half of this year, down from 15% in 2011.
The data also show that the most significant declines in the number of individuals who struggled to pay medical bills occurred during the last two years, coinciding with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act's coverage expansions (Alonso-Zaldivar, AP/Los Angeles Times, 12/8).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.