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Americans Are Being Crippled By Medical Debt


Once Americans get sick, their health and physical condition isn’t the only thing that they have to worry about, there is also the frustration of unpaid medical bills, which is an issue for millions of adults.

A study from the Urban Institute conducted a study back in 2015 and discovered that one out of four working-age adults stated they had past-due debt. Now that may appear to be a shocking statistic, however, it is an improvement from a previous study in 2012, where it was discovered that about 30 percent stated they were dealing with past-due medical debt.

That change in numbers could be the result of multiple reasons and one of them may be the Affordable Care Act as well as the economy being in a state of recovery from the post-recession years. Health Insurance does help when it comes to cutting the health care costs that each American may have, however, that doesn’t cover everything, especially since there has been a rise in high-deductible insurance, which can force some people to have to deal with thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

The Kaiser Family Foundation and The New York Times conducted a study as well that discovered that one out of five people faced issues with paying medical bills.

Every American suffers medical debt differently from others. However, it has been determined that Millennial and Generation X age groups and individuals who make less than $35,000 per year, will be more probable to suffer from overdue medical bills.

The co-director of the Urban Institute’s Opportunity and Ownership initiative, Signe-Mary McKernan stated, “The fact that millennials and Generation X are more likely to have medical debt is consistent with wealth. People under 40 today are stagnating. They are barely breaking even with the wealth their parents had in the 1980s. The expectation is every generation does better than the previous one, but this is no longer the case. As these findings show, this isn’t wealth in the academic sense.” It’s not having “a soft landing.”

Now in regards to America’s geography, the people in the Southern region are most likely to face issues with overdue medical bills. According to research, there are more than 37 percent of working age adults in Mississippi, have unpaid debt. Following in order is the states, Arkansas and West Virginia with 36 percent and 33 percent.

McKernan stated, “Think about the things that people and states can do, and that’s making sure that Americans have health insurance coverage and that financial knowledge can help. Even $250 to $750 can help families weather a financial crisis. It’s never too late to get started.”

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Veronica Nguyen is our resident gossip girl and fashionista. With a Masters in Creative Writing from UC Berkeley, Veronica contributes all of our celebrity and fashion news, injecting a little bit of her infectious personality into each piece.