Americans going into Credit Card Debt to Pay Medical Bills
A new report finds that Americans are turning to credit cards in order to pay for their high medical bills whether or not they have healthcare or health insurance. The study shows that people dig themselves into a deeper financial hole when they turn to high interest credit cards to solve their healthcare problems.
The report called Borrowing to Stay Healthy: How Credit Card Debt Is Related to Medical Expenses was released Tuesday by two non-profit organizations, the Access Project and Demos.
Mark Rukavina, co-author of the report and executive director of The Access Project states, “"The problem of medical debt is widespread, nearly 60 million adults in the U.S. are at risk of incurring medical bills they will not be able to afford. Many people are just an illness away from becoming medical debtors, and medical debt can have a detrimental effect on health-care access."
According to HealthDay News to report also found:
• Households with medical debt had higher levels of credit-card debt than households without medical debt -- on average, 46 percent higher or ,623, compared to ,964.
• The distribution of debt was higher among medically indebted households: 44 percent had credit-card debt in excess of ,000, while only 26 percent of non-medically indebted households had credit-card debt above ,000.
• Among those with medical debts, young adults aged 18 to 34 had the highest level of average credit-card debt of any age group -- ,303 compared to ,450 for non-medically indebted young adults.
• Households that were medically indebted were more likely to be called by bill collectors than non-medically indebted households, 62 percent vs. 38 percent.
• Credit-card debt was high for both insured and uninsured medically indebted households -- ,973 and ,512, respectively. "This indicates that even those who do have health insurance aren't always protected," said Cindy Zeldin, a report co-author and federal affairs coordinator with Demos' Economic Opportunity Program.
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