- In 2007, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults under 65 (116 million people) reported having problems with medical bills or debt, having put off needed care due to cost, or being uninsured or underinsured and consequently having high out-of-pocket medical costs relative to their income.
Although such problems were seen across the board, they were particularly pronounced among low- and moderate-income families. More than half of adults earning less than $40,000 annually reported problems paying medical bills or being in debt as a result of health care expenses.
- Thirty-nine percent of people with mounting bills or debts said they had depleted their savings to pay off bills; 29 percent were having problems paying for food, heat, rent and other basic necessities; and 30 percent had accumulated credit card debt.
Many are also foregoing medical care, including medications: 45 percent of adults reported problems getting care because of rising costs (up from 29 percent in 2001).
- One-third of respondents reported spending 10 percent or more of their income on medical costs, including premiums, in 2007, up from 21 percent in 2001.
- About one-quarter of working-age adults with medical debt owe $4,000 or more while 12 percent owe $8,000 or more in medical expenses.
- Twenty-eight percent of working-age U.S. adults (about 50 million people) were uninsured for at least part of 2007, up from 24 percent in 2001.
Fourteen percent of working-age adults (25 million people) were underinsured, up from 9 percent in 2003.
- Sixty-one percent of those with medical bill problems or accumulated medical debt were insured at the time care was provided. "Even adults with insurance reported problems in getting needed care," Collins noted.