1/10 Americans Feel Financial Distress and Burden of Unpaid Medical Expenses…Much Bigger Problem for Low-Income Households – CDC


One out of 10 families had medical bills that they could not pay during the first half of 2011, according to newly released figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PDF).

The agency’s survey, which had more than 52,000 respondents, included questions about medical bills and household budgets. Other Findings include:

  • One in 5 families struggled to pay medical bills during the same period.
  • One in four households had one family member who paid off a medical bill over time using credit or some fashion of payment plan.
  • Medical bills were more problematic among low-income households.
  • Among those younger than age 65, those with commercial insurance were less likely to struggle with medical debt.
  • Only 6% of nonelderly individuals with private insurance had medical bills they or family members were unable to pay compared with 1 out of 5 (20% or more than 3 times greater) uninsured and about 18% of the publicly insured.
  • Nearly 16% of privately insured nonelderly individuals reported that they or family members had problems paying medical bills.
  • About 1 out of 3 uninsured reported struggles to pay medical bills, and 28% of the publicly insured reported similar trouble.


The impact on people who are currently uninsured will be positive when the full force of health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion take effect.


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